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Offensive t shirt 'joke'

74 replies

suspended · 18/12/2019 22:08

⚠️ Content warning- sexual violence

know I'm not aibu to be offended but should I feel guilty?

Today a colleague told us him and his brother try and get each other the most offensive T-shirt's for Christmas each year. He said the last one they got got him kicked out of a music festival by some 'annoyed feminists'. So I asked what it was. He said it was Michael winners face and writing 'calm down dear or this rape will turn into a murder!'

I obviously couldn't hide my horror at him finding this funny and as I was already stood
Up to leave I said 'and on that note, I am going. That's absolutely vile. Not funny' and left.

Had a text from another colleague saying they thought the guy 'felt really uncomfortable' but agreed with me that rape jokes are never funny.

Now I'm worried about going back in tomorrow and how I'll approach this man as he sits next to me. I even feel a little guilty as I think me walking out seemed harsh.

What do you guys think?

I'm used to coarse jokes normally but I just think it completely crossed the line.

OP posts:

pasbeaucoupdegendarme · 18/12/2019 22:10

I agree that crossed the line. I wouldn’t have reacted at all well to that and would have said so - and I’m usually an absolute wet weekend when it comes to confrontation.


Ragwort · 18/12/2019 22:10

You did absolutely the right thing, he is the one who should be feeling guilty.

Well done for doing the right thing and stating your opinion.


Mumdiva99 · 18/12/2019 22:11

Of course you shouldn't feel bad. His t-shirt was offensive. If you don't call him out then he thinks he can do it again. (It's ok for him and his brother to have a private joke with each other. But the second he wearsnitnout or tells someone then it's in the public eye and you have every right to call him on it.)


FlamingoAndJohn · 18/12/2019 22:12

He felt really uncomfortable? Oh boo hoo.
You did the right thing.


CrazyKittenSmile · 18/12/2019 22:12

Not harsh at all. That joke definitely crosses a line and it’s not an appropriate thing to say or talk about at work. He doesn’t know his colleagues under visual perspectives and who may have personal experience of sexual violence (I have been raped but it’s not generally something I would share with colleagues). It’s not a joke, it’s an offensive statement designed to belittle rape/ murder and the experiences of female victims and entirely reasonable of you to say you don’t want to hear those sorts of things and leave the room. I would have done the same, and although I hate the word ‘triggered’ that’s probably how I would have felt and it would have been on my mind for the rest of the day.

You have nothing to apologise for and if all you did is walk out he’s lucky you didn’t immediately go to HR and complain.


AllTheWhoresOfMalta · 18/12/2019 22:13

I don’t think you did anything wrong. That is a really unpleasant joke and I would probably have said something similar to you to express that I thought it was disgusting, but you were getting up to go anyway, it’s not like you stormed out in a blaze of glory calling your colleague a rapist pig a throwing a drink in his face. You just made a completely valid comment about something that’s really grim. Fair enough I would say.


MyNewBearTotoro · 18/12/2019 22:13

Individual perspectives*


Lulualla · 18/12/2019 22:15

Right, what you said about the slogan is totally correct. BUT...he wasnt wearing it. He was talking about him and his brother having a competition of buying the most offensive top they could find. That means he knows the top was over-the-top offensive. He didn't buy it because it was funny. He bought it because it was as offensive as you said it was, and he knows that.

He wasnt wearing the thing. He isn't agreeing with it. He didn't find the slogan funny. He was pleased that he won the challenge with his brother that year.

He was talking about the most offensive top he could find and you asked what it was. He told you. Dont ask next time.


Letseatgrandma · 18/12/2019 22:18

Don’t ask next time.

I have to say, I agree. Why on Earth did you ask?!


Lulualla · 18/12/2019 22:19

Dont misunderstand me though; I'd have said similarl and probably told him that giving his money to the people making tops like that really isn't what I consider a funny competition.

But he obviously knows what it said was disgusting and offensive. I suppose that makes it worse in a way... he used a rape 'joke' to win a game.


suspended · 18/12/2019 22:19

Lulualla, he definitely found it funny. He laughed as he said it and he wore it at a festival. But I definitely won't ask next time! I only asked as I thought it would be close to the bone but funny at the same time.

Thanks for the response guys. What was the most surprising was that it was a room with him as the only male. The rest of us were women. So he possibly thought we would find it funny too. Hmm

OP posts:

MaJoady · 18/12/2019 22:23

But @Lulualla, he did wear it at the festival he was thrown out of. (Because of some "feminists")

I agree OP, it's disgusting and you shouldn't be feeling uncomfortable, you should be proud that you dealt with it calmly but in a way that made it clear it was unacceptable.


Airplanes · 18/12/2019 22:26

Your socialisation makes you want to make him comfortable. His socialisation makes him think telling a room of women about a fucking awful t shirt is ok. You did the right thing.

Many people who saw the t shirt would have felt uncomfortable so bollocks to him feeling uncomfortable because you rightly told him it was vile


Lulualla · 18/12/2019 22:28

But he wasnt wearing it in the office. If he'd worn it in the office then you can go town on him for being really bloody disgusting, but he was just walking about it. I think you need to be more measured in your response, simply because you were in work. If he told that story in the pub then again, throw it all at him, but in work you do need to try and remain above it when people tell idiotic stories because you dont want to risk being dragged to HR for bullying someone despite them not doing anything wrong in work.

You did handle it calmly and quickly. And if he tries to say you've turned it into a hospital environment then you can totally fight back because he started telling rape jokes first, but it just ends up going back and forth.


Lulualla · 18/12/2019 22:29

*hostile environment!


MyNewBearTotoro · 18/12/2019 22:36

You definitely shouldn’t just ignore it when people talk about these things in the work environment and I can’t see a situation where somebody who was upset at their colleague sharing rape jokes would be accused of bullying? The workplace should be a professional environment and is absolutely not the environment for anybody to be talking about the offensive T-shirts they like to wear, bragging about being thrown out of music festivals for wearing an offensive shirt or then openly sharing the words on the offensive T-shirt. The colleague was absolutely in the wrong to think that was an appropriate thing to talk about in work considering it could very easily be taken as sexism, which should be taken very seriously by HR. To share it in a room full of women considering the statistical likelihood that a woman has experienced sexual violence was incredibly shortsighted of him- it’s likely there are other women who found the remark offensive or triggering due to their own experience of sexual violence so it was completely wrong of him to share it.

The fact it was said at work in a professional environment makes it a lot worse than if he’d said it in the pub and if it was reported to HR it’s likely he would find himself with at least a warning for sexually inappropriate behaviour, regardless of the context behind it (that he was only talking about the T-shirt and not wearing it).


Lulualla · 18/12/2019 22:41

Exactly. If it was reported to HR. Then when he was spoken to it would have been by the book and with a witness.

He is saying he felt uncomfortable. If he decides to complain about that, then OP will need to defend herself. If she'd walked away without saying anything then the anger would have been implied instead if explicit, so he couldn't claim to have been bullied. She could then pass it along to management and they could all have a chat with him about not being offensive and disgusting.


BonnyConnie · 18/12/2019 22:45

That’s well beyond the point of being offensive in a funny way.


AutumnRose1 · 18/12/2019 22:49

he shouldn't have been discussing it at all. It sounds like he did it because he ultimately wanted to say what was on the t-shirt.


NomNomNomNom · 18/12/2019 22:49

I don't see why you should be feeling guilty. His T-shirt was clearly offensive. You don't have to e a good sport by not being offending by something that is offensive.


Howlovely · 18/12/2019 22:51

He crossed a line, you didn't!


Batqueen · 18/12/2019 22:51

OP I think your response was perfect. You let him know that he had crossed a line and he will hopefully think twice before making those comments in a work environment again (in life I wouldn’t be so sure).

You did not say anything that could be misconstrued as bullying, you did not tell him he was vile you said the ‘joke’ was, in front of witnesses.

Of course he’s uncomfortable, it’s not nice when you realise you are the office prick.


MyNewBearTotoro · 18/12/2019 22:54

I can’t imagine a HR department taking his complaint very seriously. What would he possibly say? ‘I shared an offensive and sexist rape joke and my female colleague walked out of the room and that made me feel uncomfortable so I’d like to make a complaint.’

I can’t imagine that would go down very well. The OP has done nothing wrong and was entirely reasonable to walk out of the room in response to hearing something sexist and offensive.


GroggyLegs · 18/12/2019 23:00

Boo fucking hoo he feels uncomfortable. So what if OP asked? He could have said 'No it was really bad' but he thought she'd laugh along at his devil may care, rapey wit.

He should feel absolutely dreadful if it's just dawned on him that rape isn't great comedy material.

I'd hold your head high OP. Women saying 'thats not funny' isn't an offence.


Willow2017 · 18/12/2019 23:15

Seriously anyone thinks he is going to.complain to HR because someone thought rape wasn't funny but he did?

Wtaf is the world coming to? Saying rape and murder of women isn't a joke wasn't a disciplinary situation last time I looked.

The fact he said it in a room full of women never mind wore it in public is offensive and the fact he called the women who complained about it "feminists" like it was an insult just shows what a pillock he is.

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