Employee — a grown man for God’s sake — claims he was fired for being a brony

my-little-pony-rarity-scary-oReaders: A brony is a male fan of the children’s television show My Little Pony.

(This is the part where you let everything that you’ve read thus far sink in, as you watch this clip, close your office door, and laugh hysterically. Go ahead. It’s ok).

According to Gawker, the bronyย posted to Reddit that his co-workers gave him a raft of crap for setting his office computer screensaver to Applejack, a My Little Pony character.

(Go ahead. Really, it’s ok to laugh).

After getting called into his boss’ office and told to change his screensaver because, you know, it’s creepy as all hell when a man in his 30s has a My Little Pony screensaver on his office computer, the former employee relented.

That is, until a few months later when, on Take Your Child to Work Day, the brony saw that the boss’s daughter was wearing a Rainbow Dash t-shirt, and commented to her that he likes the shirt. (Rainbow Dash is also a My Li— yeah, you get the idea).

Eventually, the brony claims he was was fired for being a brony, but not before calling HR to obtain some answers surrounding his termination.

Could you imagine being on the receiving end of that call? I bet there’s nothing in that PHR certification of yours to prepare you for that one, is there?

Anyway…

Legal “Brony discrimination” or unlawful sexual stereotyping?

There is a serious point to this post.ย 

*** searches desperately for serious point to an otherwise gratuitous post ***

As I’ve noted before, Title VII does make it unlawful to stereotype based on a person’s gender non-conforming behavior.ย So, taking the brony’s version of the facts as true, would he have been fired if he were a woman? I’d like to think yes and, therefore, what happened here was perfectly legal. Because, damn, what grown person — male or female — would think it professional to have a My Little Pony screensaver at work.

But, then again, what do I know? I have an Allen Iverson fathead in my office and heard about this brony story listening to Howard Stern on the ride back from speaking at an HR conference yesterday. So that, plus this blog, makes me a bit of an enigma and probably the wrong person to ask.

What do you think? Did the brony’s former employer break the law? Or was the employer justified in firing the brony? Let me know in the comments below.

Updated:
  • SasQ

    First of all, get your facts straight:
    1. It was not a screensaver, but a wallpaper. His coworkers had custom wallpapers too (usually sport teams and cheerleaders), but it was only his wallpaper with Applejack (a country pony from the show) which raised controversies. And not for his boss, but amongst his coworkers.
    2. When his boss told him to remove the wallpaper, he complied, not refused.
    3. He was actually being harassed by his coworkers for being a fan of “Friendship is Magic”: they mocked him and were making inappropriate comments about him in his presence. They were provoking him, but he has never been mad or aggressive in return. (One of the laws in Bronies’ moral code book is “Love and Tolerate”.) He always tried to explain his position to them calmly and politely.
    4. His boss get mad even when he commented his daughter’s shirt with Rainbow Dash on it. Nothing inappropriate, he just told her that he liked her shirt. This made his boss mad, although it was perfectly OK for other coworkers to talk with his son about their interests (mostly sport).

    I see that you’re doing your best to make this entire story look ridiculous and laughable ๐Ÿ˜› Your article is very biased and you corrupted most of the info to fit your needs.
    More reliable and unbiased source:
    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1041514

    Even your choice of media sample from the show is questionable: as if you tried to find the most childish and ridiculous fragment, ignoring all more serious and deep moments of the show. And since I’m a fan of this show too (and many other shows as well, cartoon or not), and I know all the episodes inside out, I can tell that you haven’t even skimmed the surface of it.
    Here are some more representative samples from the show (WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwqoMvxI2jY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ravqcxHnkKI

    Still laughing? ๐Ÿ˜›

    It is no longer just for little girls. It’s official rating is actually “targeted for all audiences”, and the creators of the show confirm that. They make it in such a way that parents could watch this show with their kids and still enjoy it. The show is made in a multi-layered way, so that an adult viewers can find something for themselves as well, such as pop-culture references to other adult shows, adult allusions, and life lessons, because Friendship is pretty much universal, no matter the age. I, for one, was attracted to the show by its symbolism and multiple references to ancient mythology. But as a part-time graphics designer, I also enjoy the Flash animation and can appreciate it.

    • Daring Do

      This is absurd. As you might guess, I watch the show too, and *you’re* the one who’s cherrypicking the few non-saccharine, non-childish moments you can find – hardly “representative” as you claim. Even then none of these scenes are remotely adult.

  • SasQ

    First of all, get your facts straight:
    1. It was not a screensaver, but a wallpaper. His coworkers had custom wallpapers too (usually sport teams and cheerleaders), but it was only his wallpaper with Applejack (a country pony from the show) which raised controversies. And not for his boss, but amongst his coworkers.
    2. When his boss told him to remove the wallpaper, he complied, not refused.
    3. He was actually being harassed by his coworkers for being a fan of “Friendship is Magic”: they mocked him and were making inappropriate comments about him in his presence. They were provoking him, but he has never been mad or aggressive in return. (One of the laws in Bronies’ moral code book is “Love and Tolerate”.)
    4. His boss get mad even when he commented his daughter’s shirt with Rainbow Dash on it. Nothing inappropriate, he just told her that he liked her shirt.

    I see that you’re doing your best to make this entire story look ridiculous and laughable ๐Ÿ˜› Your article is very biased and you corrupted most of the info to fit your needs.
    More reliable and unbiased source:
    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1041514

    Even your choice of media sample from the show is questionable: as if you tried to find the most childish and ridiculous fragment, ignoring all more serious and deep moments of the show. And since I’m a fan of this show too (and many other shows as well, cartoon or not), and I know all the episodes in and out, I can tell that you haven’t even skimmed the surface of it. It is no more a cartoon show just for little girls. It’s official rating is actually “targeted for all audiences”, and the creators of the show confirm that. They make it in such a way that parents could watch this show with their kids and still enjoy it. The show is made in a multi-layered way, so that an adult viewers can find something for themselves as well, such as pop-culture references to other adult shows, adult allusions, and life lessons, because Friendship is pretty much universal, no matter the age. I, for one, was attracted to the show by its symbolism and multiple references to ancient mythology. But as a part-time graphics designer, I also enjoy the Flash animation and can appreciate it.

    Here are some more representative samples from the show (WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwqoMvxI2jY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ravqcxHnkKI

    Still laughing? ๐Ÿ˜›