A woman looking pensively while outdoors.
Unsplash | Kyle Broad

Guy's Old School Commercial Reference Gets Him Reported To HR For Sexual Harassment

It's getting clearer and clearer that the gap between generations can be pretty huge. Something as simple as a reference to a commercial can get lost in translation, and end up being turned into a bigger deal than it actually is.

Which, sadly, happened to one self-identified Gen Xer, who got accused of sexual harassment after making a joke at work.

The worker shares their story on the subreddit TIFU.

An old fashioned television on a table.
Unsplash | PJ Gal-Szabo

"TIFU by using an old commercial jingle at work that cause me to get hauled into human resources for possible sexual harassment," the user captions their story before diving in.

"Gen Xer here. I love old commercial jingles, especially ones from the 70s and 80s and often I will use them to make commentary on things I'm doing."

A GIF from the 1980s Reese's Pieces commercial.
Giphy |

"We were in a meeting with sales and marketing and were discussing a new initiative that would involve both parties in a way we've never done before. One of the younger marketing women was outlining this and I said, 'You've got your chocolate in my peanut butter!'"

"This was a popular tag line for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups back in the day and I was using it to (I thought) illustrate how we were putting two good things together."

"To make it worse, some of the older meeting participants laughed."

You can watch an example of Reese's old commercials from the campaign here if you've never seen it (or to jog your memory).

"I didn't think anything of it until I had the head of HR come into my office and ask to see me."

A man and a woman having a discussion while seated at a table.
Unsplash | charlesdeluvio

"Apparently, the young woman who is in her 20s had never heard of the commercial and thought I was making a sexually charged remark at her. Even the HR person hadn't heard of the commercial."

"I had to go online and actually pull up the commercial for them to believe me. I'll never live this down."

A man shrugging and then saying, "It happens."
Giphy | SoulPancake

The user then provided updates on the situation.

"Nothing bad happened to me. Everyone kind of laughed it off and it was seen as a teachable moment, but honestly it just made me feel old and misunderstood."

They also discuss how women in the workplace have had to put up with sexist remarks for years.

A woman leaning on a wall, hair obscuring her face.
Unsplash | Eric Ward

Things are better than they once were, though the user also says, "I do believe the pendulum has swung too far the other way so that everyone is afraid of saying anything."

"I think that younger generations have been taught to not accept the subtle dog whistles and innuendo that plagued historical society..."

A man sitting with one hand on his face and the other on a jar of coins.
Unsplash | Towfiqu barbhuiya

"...and as such have sometimes lost the subtleties of conversations which don't always have to be negative."

The comment section was full of people reacting in pretty different ways.

Paul Rudd scrunching his face in confusion.
Giphy |

Some made jokes, like one user commenting, "Did you say 'where’s the beef?' as soon as you walked into the HR office?"

Others, meanwhile, were confused as to how the coworker could misconstrue the meaning as sexual.

Others even shared similar experiences they've had.

A woman shaking her head while saying, "I just didn't get it."
Giphy | TrueReal

One Redditor commented, "I made a comment about 'choosing your hill to die on.' I was accused of threatening someone's life because they'd never heard the expression. Sometimes people are funny."

There were even some who were a bit more sympathetic toward the coworker.

An alien man saying, "Okay, now don't be mad."
Giphy | The Orville

"...I think the young woman was stressed from the presentation and assumed the worst when those present in the meeting where laughing. Often times, when people are placed in a state of discomfort they become defensive about themselves."

Either way, it's very clear it was all one big misunderstanding.

Steve Buscemi's famous 'How do you do, fellow kids?' scene
Giphy |

Despite the fact that there was a time when that campaign was everywhere (I wasn't even alive in the '80s and I know about it), it's not so far fetched to think some people wouldn't get the reference. And it luckily all worked out for the better.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!