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Woman Accuses Co-Worker Of 'Perpetuating Ethnic Stereotypes' By Joking About Cats

Photo: Twitter
Tortie Jean and Jorts the cat

A user by the name of u/throwawayorangecat went to the “Am I The A--hole” subreddit, or AITA for short, to try and figure out if he was wrong in his workplace squabble with a fellow colleague.

The man's place of work has a couple of workplace cats who are named Jean, a tortoiseshell cat they’ve had for years, and Jorts, a large orange cat that they’ve recently added to the team.

Jorts is the star of this story so get to know him.

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According to Pam, a pseudonym the Reddit user is using for his colleague, the poster is “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes” for a joke that he made about the new cat, Jorts.

The Reddit user joked that Jorts the cat is 'dumb.'

“We have two workplace cats in one area of our worksite,” the poster started. “They add value to the worksite, we all love the cats and the worksite cat presence is not the issue . . . Jorts is just… kind of a simple guy.”

The original post (which includes a link to an update) has an air of genuine confusion and a near-mockery of how absurd the situation is.

U/throwawayorangecat continues by giving examples of what he means — Jorts can’t manage to open a door that’s ajar and actually pushes it closed, meowing until he gets rescued, or getting stuck in trash cans.

“It’s a real issue because the cats are fed in a closet and Jorts keeps pushing the door closed,” he explains. “Jean can actually open all the other interior doors since they are a lever-type knob, but she can’t open this particular door if she is trapped INSIDE the closet.”

He goes on to explain how “Tortie Jean” is very nice to “poor orange Jorts” and usually helps him get out of these pickles, which the poster decided to resolve by putting down a door stop — this is where the real problem arises.

“Pam then said I was depriving Jorts of the ‘chance to learn’ and kept removing the doorstop. She set up a series of special learning activities for Jorts, and tried to put these tasks on the whiteboard of daily team tasks (I erased them),” he explained.

“She thinks we need to teach him how to clean himself better and how to get out of minor barriers like when he gets a cup stuck on his head, etc. I love Jorts but he’s just dumb af and we can’t change that.”

Tensions between Pam and u/throwawayorangecat are rising, and the breaking point is when she confronts them about a cat cutout in the door.

“I made a gentle joke about ‘you can’t expect Jean’s tortoiseshell smarts from orange cat Jorts’ which made Pam FURIOUS,” he said. “She started crying and left the hallway, then sent an email to the group (including volunteers) and went home early.”

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In the email, Pam said he was “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes by saying orange cats are dumb” and demanded that the team go through racial sensitivity training before she returns.

Of course, the reactions of most people in the comments were that the original poster was “NTA” or, “Not the A--hole.”

“You can't be racist against a cat, or any animal for that matter. It's an animal,” reads the top comment. “Jorts does not care if you think he's dumb. He will not report you to HR for orangecatphobia. Pam, on the other hand might.”

They go on to talk about how racism is something that only affects people, and that lumping together animal issues with people issues undermines the problems real people face.

Another user joked that “Pam is being an ableist and you're just trying to provide Jort with reasonable accommodations pertaining to ADA laws.”

They continued, saying “Personally, I'd love to see your boss have a diversity training meeting, but instead of people it's all about different cat breeds.”

Fortunately, u/throwawayorangecat and Pam both met with HR individually and together to solve the drama in the workplace.

“We all deserve to be treated with dignity at work,” he said in the update post, “so I will apologize to Jorts about some things that were insensitive or disrespectful.”

The poster goes on to talk about several misgivings he has been treating Jorts with, like not buying him a proper bed, having a sign that says “DAYS SINCE JORTS HAD A TRASH CAN MISHAP: 0” above the trash can, and Jorts’ staff bio being a picture of a sweet potato — all things he promised to remedy, but the final thing was on Pam to fix.

The email sent out by HR read: “Pam admits that she has been putting margarine on Jorts in an attempt to teach him to groom himself better. This may explain the diarrhea problem Jean developed (which required a vet visit).”

Pam is NOT to apply margarine to any of her coworkers. Jean has shown she is willing to be in charge of helping Jorts stay clean. If this task becomes onerous for Jean, we can have a groomer help.”

The original poster admitted that the workplace drama had originally worried them sincerely, but the masterful execution from HR to resolve any issues left them feeling relieved and joyful that other people found it amusing.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.