my coworkers love talking about murder

A reader writes:

I have a weird problem and I don’t know what to do. A group of my coworkers loves discussing murder. Like, they love it. True crime is their favorite form of entertainment. They spend long periods talking about the gruesome details of their “favorite” crimes. (Yes, they have referred to certain rapes, murders, and abductions as their “favorites.”) Recently, they discussed the murder and rape of a six-year-old girl, allegedly by her father. They also love to joke about these crimes and will throw in little one-liners about the killers, the details of the murder, the victims, and the surviving families.

Alison, it makes me sick to my stomach. Not only am I nauseated by the grisly details, but the way they joke so lightly about violence really offends me. The thing is, I have also heard them justify their true crime obsession as a form of feminism, because all of them are women living in a violent and misogynist world. They have also spoken negatively about people who “overreact,” “judge,” and “don’t get it” when they joke about murder.

Would it be prudish of me to ask them to stop? Am I overreacting? Three of them work in the cubicles directly next to and across from me, so I can’t really escape it.

You aren’t overreacting. Ask them to stop.

It’s true that in some cases where you don’t like your coworkers’ topic of conversation, you need to just tune it out and move on (Game of Thrones, juggling, favorite nuts, or whatever). When the topic is relatively innocuous — just not interesting to you — you’ve got to figure that people are allowed to talk to other people about things they find mutually interesting, even if you find them enormous bores.

But some topics are different. At work, sex is one. Violence is another.

Despite true crime podcasts having A Moment right now, graphic violence is still widely recognized as a topic that many people are uncomfortable with. That means you’re on very solid ground in speaking up. You are not overreacting, and in fact you’ll be pointing out something that really shouldn’t have even needed to be spelled out for them. But since it does…

Try saying something like: “I’ve tried to tune it out, but I really feel sick hearing so much about murder and other violent crimes — especially the grisly details. Can you please hold those conversations for when I’m not around?”

You mentioned that they judge people who don’t “get” their interest. That’s fine. They can judge you! You just need them to stop discussing it around you.

If anyone tries to argue it with you — telling you that you’re overreacting or not being supportive of this as a feminist topic (!?) — you can say, “I don’t want to debate it. You’re welcome to be interested in it yourself! I just don’t want to hear about it while I’m at work.”

And if the conversations drift in a grisly direction after that, you can speak up in the moment and say, “Hey, can you hold this for later? I’d rather not have this in my head.”

{ 559 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Hey y’all. I’m deleting a ton of long off-topic threads about what podcasts you do and don’t like. Please stay focused on advice for the letter-writer.

    1. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

      Thanks, Alison. I rather regret bringing it up… I don’t post here often and didn’t realize my comment would just stay at the top. It was intended as an aside, not the main focus of the conversation, which ought to be the coworkers’ behavior and how the OP can address it.

  2. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

    Sounds like they’re Murderinos – fans of the podcast My Favorite Murder, which frames grisly crimes similarly to how the OP describes her coworkers’ conversations.

    1. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

      I had to stop listening because they were laughing their way through the podcast and acting silly about serious crimes. It was frankly disgusting and I have a high threshold for that stuff. There are many other true crime podcasts that don’t treat homicide as a lark.

      1. Joielle*

        Yeah, I’m a big fan of true crime podcasts, but I also had to stop listening to My Favorite Murder. Gristly crimes are fascinating to me, but they’re not… funny…?

        1. VelociraptorAttack*

          My Favorite Murder also got to be too much of a platform for them and less about the victims and that bothered me. But I agree, it was overly jokey.

        2. palomar*

          Removed because this led to a long off-topic thread of true crime podcast recommendations. – Alison

          1. Zephy*

            I love Casefile! I find the host’s delivery (and Australian accent) to be very soothing, even when he’s describing really horrific stuff. Also, I appreciate hearing about things that have happened in other places (I’m American).

          2. Zephy*

            I appreciate Criminal because it’s not always murder. Sometimes it’s growing pot, or sex work, or a case of mistaken identity.

            1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

              CRIMINAL CRIMINAL CRIMINAL. Some of their subjects are very traditional true crime-y but in all cases the tone is always thoughtful and respectful. Their approach is story-based, not shock-based, even if the details are sometimes shocking. They did two episodes about murder ballads in the American folk music tradition, and they delved into cases that inspired folk songs, and they had a musician do new interpretations – those episodes are still so haunting to me. But then they have episodes about, like, people who regret stealing petrified wood from national parks.

      2. Lily in NYC*

        Absolutely agree! I also have a high threshold and was surprised at how off-putting I found the podcast.

      3. can't believe*

        Exactly! I have had an interest in true crime since I was a teenager – and I am currently listening to someone knows something – which is very interesting but I stumbled on a pod cast like you are describing and it FREAKED me out! I also do not talk about this interest of mine with anyone…

    2. WA*

      Yup, definite Murderinos, that was my thought too. They refer to it as a “true crime comedy podcast” where they use humor and comedy as a way to cope with the terrible things they’re discussing. I’m a Murderino, always been fascinated by true crime, and I have a few coworkers who also share my interest but we’d never discuss it in mixed company.

      1. Lola*

        Yeah, I’m a fan as well, but there’s a reason they always start their live shows with “this is what we’re going to be talking about, this is the tone we use, and if that makes you uncomfortable you should leave now.” You don’t take it to work!

        1. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

          It is the first time that I ever heard of this podcast, but since they themselves put a warning at the beginning of their broadcasting, I find it hugely inappropriate to discuss themes/subjects of this podcast in an open work environment.

          I don’t mean that they cannot discuss this at work with fellow-listeners, just make sure that it doesn’t bother other co-workers. This isn’t a subject like GOT of Star Trek, World cup of a certain sport, etc. that is famous and is a current subject in media. This is something that entails gruesome details, and real people who have died in horrible circumstances. It certainly can have a huge impact on someone’s mental well-being.

        2. LunaLena*

          The Death Museum in LA and New Orleans has a similar disclaimer at their entrance, since they also feature highly disturbing images and items, which I thought was a good idea. When I went, they had a very graphic photo of a gory car accident at the front desk with a sign that said something like “if you’re not okay with this, don’t go in.” I personally found it gruesome but fascinating, but think it’s a “know your audience” kind of topic – I’ve brought it up in casual conversation before, but if the listener seems squeamish or uninterested, I only give vague descriptions of the exhibits or switch to other topics.

      2. Angwyshaunce*

        I’m impressed by the amount of research TLPOTL does. I’ve learned lots on subjects I thought I was already pretty familiar with.

      3. Lola*

        Yeah, it’s more like using the murder stories as a jumping-off point for other stuff (like dealing with crappy boyfriends, or K&G’s experiences with substance abuse, or wild latchkey kid stories.) But I still totally don’t blame anyone who finds the podcast too much.

        1. Brandy*

          I got to where I had known all the stories and quit listening to the main episodes but listen like mad to the minisodes. People are taking this wrong. There is nothing wrong with MFM, like being hinted at here. The crimes are serious and they admit that. Its like the We Hate Movies podcast. The movies are jumping offs to them just chatting about anything. Thats what I enjoy. Why I like the minisodes so much. And the pets (Elvis, Mimi, Dottie and Frank and George). Should they be all stoic like people on here feel they should be, would anyone listen?

          1. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

            And if OP’s coworkers were just having lovely chats about Karen and Georgia’s cute pets, OP wouldn’t have had to write to Alison.

            1. Brandy*

              didnt say they were just talking about pets. I said i like listening because the stories are just some of what they talk about.

          2. RandomU...*

            “Should they be all stoic like people on here feel they should be, would anyone listen?”

            Hmm… I’m not sure you’re helping your case here. If they are using humor as a way to get people to listen, then that just cheapens the victims even more.

            Here’s the way I see it. I’ve never listened, so I’m not going to comment one way or another how appropriate some of these podcasts are or if they are right or wrong. That’s up to the individual person. The OP didn’t really comment one way or another on the podcasts themselves and their right or wrongness either.

            What the LW did comment on was the coworkers discussing it. Like everything else there are going to be things that fans take too far or not understand (or care) how their actions on a topic affect others around them. I think it’s relatively safe to say that graphic descriptions of murder and crime are not really workplace appropriate.

            There are things in my personal life that I enjoy/have enjoyed, that are not workplace appropriate to talk about. I’m certainly not going to start singing some of my old favorite metal and punk songs and tell all my coworkers to who object to the content to suck it. I’m going to do what everyone else does… wait until I get in the car, close the windows, and sing along at the top of my lungs while hoping I don’t have to stop at a red light :)

            1. ket*

              Suck…. My… Left… One!!

              And then we’ll get mellow and head to “Pink is the truth you can’t hide…”

              Yep. Good analogy. I’ll listen to whatever music (or podcasts) I like on headphones, but it’s another thing to keep it as running conversation with coworkers.

            2. Brandy*

              Im not saying the OP said any of that. The commenters here, alot are upset because K & G cut up some during the podcast. If you like Stoic, listen to stoic if you like comedy listen t K & G. And they arent laughing at the murders. They laugh at life.

          3. PizzaDog*

            at the risk of derailing… using a shitty movie as a jumping off point to talk about something else is a little different to using murder as one.

            OP finds the podcast distasteful, she shouldn’t have to listen to more (or any) of the episodes to change her mind.

      4. MissBliss*

        I used to listen to MFM and I tried Last Podcast on the Left, but honestly, I found some of their jokes worse. There’s one particular guy on there (I don’t know his name) who always made really uncomfortable jokes, and I could tell the others were trying to move on from it, but he’d double down. Their research was great and the shows are nice and long, but it just… squicked me out.

        The fan culture of MFM also led me to stop listening to them. That and their bad responses to some things going on in the fan community, and their bad attitudes when called out. And I took my best friend to a live show for her graduation present!

        1. WA*

          The MFM fan culture has gotten bad for sure in certain aspects. I’m guessing I’ll see this linked in one of the facebook groups this evening.

        2. Anax*

          Yep. For instance, that host has used some really uncomfortable ethnic-stereotype accents for some of the … villains? criminals? … and even though they make a point of not making fun of the victims, that sort of off-color humor feels too likely to hit other folks in the crossfire.

          (The research is also… not bad, but not always great. I find that LPOTL tends to consume only a couple sources for their episodes, especially earlier on, and that can lead to biased accounting. The Waco episode in particular was… not super awesome.)

        3. CommanderBanana*

          I stopped Listening to LontL because I feel like I don’t need to have a group of bros screaming in my ear recreationally, it happens often enough in real life.

          Same for Small Town Murder.

          I only listen to true crime podcasts hosted by women now.

          1. That Work from Home Life*

            Same! I like LontL in doses (and I particularly like the eps on Rasputin) but it can be a grating brofest so I don’t listen to it regularly.

      5. Lola*

        See, I’m also into LPOTL (paradoxically, listening to them got me through a really bad mental health spiral) but I wouldn’t call them dry at all. If anything, they’re a bit more – erm, earthy than MFM.

        1. Oliver*

          I’m into LPOTL too – you definitely have to be prepared for some, like, Family Guy-style bro humor. But, besides the level of research they usually do, they’re not totally unconscious of the social issues that are at play in the stories they cover. (One example, they highlighted the prejudice sex workers face at the hands of the police over the course of a murder story, and later had a sex worker on as a guest to talk about those issues.)

          I’ve actually talked about LPOTL with coworkers before, and we definitely managed to avoid loudly and flippantly discussing grisly murder details.

      6. Sparrow*

        The “not in mixed company” part is key. I think OP can easily ask that they have these conversations elsewhere without getting into “I’m judging you for enjoying this” territory. It’s just: hearing this at work is really distracting and impacting my productivity, please save these conversations for lunch (ALONE, away from everyone else) or happy hour.

        1. Shannon*

          I am a murderino also, but my wife is not. All it took is her asking me to put headphones on so she didn’t start having nightmares…I can’t imagine they wouldn’t stop, knowing it’s negatively affecting their coworker (or they aren’t true murderinos, because murderinos are not jerks).

      7. PizzaDog*

        their 9/11 episodes were SO well researched, I was really impressed. the Scientology episodes were quite good too.

      8. dramallama*

        I’m a major fan of LPotL, but even then… Dude, describing their humor as “dry” is incredibly misleading. I’m pretty sure in the Oklahoma City episodes you just recommended they have a running gag about how disgusting the woman who took Timothy McVeigh’s virginity must have been.

    3. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

      Yeah it’s very popular. Not my thing – a friend who’s a rabid fan (like, attends meetups with other fans) advised against me listening to it because my anxiety about violence is high enough as it is.

      One catchphrase from the show is “Stay Sexy, Don’t Get Murdered,” which… idk. Again, not my thing.

      1. RandomU...*

        “… a friend who’s a rabid fan (like, attends meetups with other fans) ”

        Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea? Like straight out of the plot of a slasher movie.

        “He found his victims by organizing true crime meetups… they may have been fans, but they weren’t good at identifying the real thing before it was too late!”

          1. madge*

            Loooove that voice…if Keith Morrison (or Robert Stack) was one of the coworkers, I’d listen to the murder gabfest. Otherwise, no thanks. I’m a true crime addict but that topic is not cool where people don’t have the option to leave the conversation.

        1. Lissa*

          Hee. I think not really any more dangerous than any other meetup really. I don’t get the true crime obsession at all (though I love fake crimes by which I mean detective novels/shows) but this is mainstream enough that I don’t think it’s actually likely to attract actual murderers.

        2. Phoenix*

          The meetups commonly do things like raise money for End The Backlog or organize yoga classes, things like that. Not quite like you’re imagining.

        3. Light37*

          Charlaine Harris did this in the first of her Aurora Teagarden series- Real Murders. The members of a club which analyzes famous murders start to be killed off in copycat fashion.

        4. CommanderBanana*

          I’m part of a murderino group in my city and we have a monthly book club, a group hiking club, and organize events like supply drives for domestic violence shelters. Nicest group of people I’ve ever met.

      2. skunklet*

        But the podcast exists exactly b/c the hosts have anxiety issues, and by learning about all of these morbid things, it actually helps them cope with their anxiety. As it does for many others.
        They also throw that whole ‘well, she deserved it’ culture in the face of the patriarcy (Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again) – that it doesn’t matter WHAT you wear as a woman, it doesn’t matter how dark it was outside or how late at night it was, you do not deserve to be raped and murdered (hence, SSDGM).
        The groups that get together also do things like raise money for End the Backlog.
        I do have issues with some of their extreme lack of facts, but they really are pushing back at much of the patricarchal bs in society right now.

        1. Lissa*

          This is true but I think that the light-heartedness of the way people talk who are into this show in particular can be really tone-deaf and losing track of what this sounds like to people who aren’t also fans. Like, most people are not going to hear “stay sexy, don’t get murdered” and interpret it the way that you say – and I don’t necessarily blame the podcast makers because they didn’t plan for it to blow up enough people who aren’t into it became aware of it. But, it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people for lots of reasons.

          1. skunklet*

            ” Like, most people are not going to hear “stay sexy, don’t get murdered” and interpret it the way that you say ” – and that’s on them for making a determination about a podcast they’ve never listened to…

            1. Emmie*

              No. It’s not on the people who don’t listen to the podcast. I appreciate the approach to the backlog and am not judging you individually. While it feels insensitive to the victims to me, it is at least inappropriate for work.

            2. Fiberpunk*

              No, that’s on them for understanding the way English is normally used. That sounds like victim blaming at best.
              You’re trying to justify something you enjoy that others find horrifically distasteful, and that’s problematic. This is something that no one should ever be forced to listen to, or forced to hear constant discussion about.

            3. Phoenix*

              People judge based on the information available. Out of context, SSDGM could sound pretty weird/flip/strange, for sure.

              1. skunklet*

                exactly. b/c as is mentioned below, the commentariate has generally clearly not listened to this podcast and is making judgements based on only the letter – and the letter makes judgements based on only what they hear at work. the podcast NEVER blames the victim and frankly, they DON’T go into detail, which is why I don’t listen to them as frequently as I used to.

              2. Fortitude Jones*

                How do you even know what podcast OP’s coworkers listen to, skunklet? I saw no mention of a title in the letter, unless I missed something…

              3. Phoenix*

                @skunklet – I’m actually disagreeing with you. I’m saying that it’s totally normal and fine for people to judge something based *only* on the information in front of them, and that the sign-off phrase “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” sounds really odd and potentially problematic outside of context. I get why people think it’s weird.

                We’re *meant* to be making judgments based only on the letter – it doesn’t matter what’s in the podcast (if the podcast under discussion is even relevant, we don’t know it is). It only matters that OP’s coworkers are making OP uncomfortable in a thoughtless way.

              4. EventPlannerGal*


                “the letter makes judgements based on only what they hear at work.”

                I mean… that is what the letter to this workplace advice blog is about. And anyway, the OP’s issue isn’t with the podcast or how much or little it blames the victims – she’s not the one listening to it. (We don’t even know for sure that they’re specifically talking about My Favourite Murder, although I would imagine they are given the phrasing.) It’s with her coworkers talking about the actual crimes, loudly and in detail, at work, in a light-hearted and comedic tone – which is exactly what the podcast does, so it’s not exactly an inaccurate judgement anyway. Being all like “well, I know you find laughing about murders disturbing and offensive, but this particular comedy murder podcast definitely doesn’t blame the victims!” isn’t super relevant.

            4. Lissa*

              I really have to disagree. People don’t evaluate every sentence they hear spoken thinking it might be a reference to a piece of media they don’t know. This is true for everything, not just disturbing things. We talk about optics here with FAR less contentious topics.

    4. AngryAngryAlice*

      Yeah I’m a true crime fan for sure, but I like it in the sense that I like LEARNING about it and learning how we can work to prevent it in the future. Billy Jensen is a true crime author who walks this line REALLY well. I also enjoyed reading Dave Cullen’s two books on school shootings because he writes them as a journalist and uncovers why exactly these crimes happened and how the system failed people and what we can do to prevent them moving forward.

      MFM is the opposite of that. I feel like the hosts and some fans (not all) almost take a sick pleasure in discussing these crimes and all the gruesome, grisly details. I had to stop listening because they just sounded too joyful when they discussed crimes (and they also play it really fast and loose with facts sometimes).

      It sounds like LW’s coworkers are of this ilk… and that’s pretty gross in my opinion.

      1. Al*

        Any chance you’ve read any Erik Larson? Devil in the White City is a fantastic read that interweaves HH Holmes with the Chicago World’s Fair. I like learning about it from more of a historical perspective.

        1. seejay*

          Yeah, this is my take on it. I’ve been interested in true crime since I was a kid (which is weird, fully admit it) but from the law, forensic, science and psychology aspects. Every book, tv show and movie I’ve watched and read has never once had a comedy spin to it, no matter what. Some have been pretty detailed and dark and difficult, but I always go into them with the intention of learning, not for the grisly details.

          I’ve also *always* watched what I’ve discussed when in mixed company. I never discuss the major details that I know, if people want to know more, they’re welcome to research and read up on them on their own. I’ll discuss the more well-known parts if people want to talk about it, keeping it within ear-shot so no one else has to hear it, but I’m sensitive to the topic.

          It’s not for everyone and I’ve always been careful of that. In my opinion, that’s a very important factor and anyone who forces it on others… well, I don’t have pleasant words about them.

          1. Can't Think of a Name*

            Exactly! A few of my coworkers and I all LOVE true crime, but we never get into specifics because it’s not appropriate for work. Usually we’ve read/know of a lot of the same crimes, so our convos will go, “And did you see what the murderer did before they killed them? It was so messed up,” or “Yeah, I heard they also did some other really terrible stuff – I won’t say here though.” If someone wants to know the gory details, assume they’ll look it up themselves. In general discretion when talking about true crime is important in any public setting, because general societal norms lean pretty heavily toward “talking excitedly about gruesome dismemberment, suffering, and death is An Odd Thing and will minimum get you Weird Looks from strangers”

        2. Al*

          If you are a fan of history, I highly recommend it among his other books, especially In the Garden of Beasts which details the life of Ambassador William Dodd, the ambassador to Germany during the rise of Nazi power. He presents historical information in a way that is not just “On July 1, 1873, XXX happened” but in more of a story telling fashion to really engage the reader. It is fascinating to learn about Chicago becoming the site of the World’s Fair and how this wonderful city-altering event came at the cost of HH Holmes’ horrific crime spree.

          1. milksnake*

            Oooooh that book (In the Garden of Beasts) sounds like just the thing to fill the void I have after finishing The Zookeeper’s Wife, and I finished that months ago!

            I tried reading Devil in the White City and for the life of me I couldn’t get into it and I have no idea why. I just felt the writing was very dry?

            1. Al*

              I love historical books and they do tend to be dry. In my experience, Devil in the White City was a little less dry than most (it was a little damp I guess?) But I love In The Garden of Beasts, it is truly fascinating to learn about their rise to power and the slow and subtle changes that went unnoticed at the time while the reader ends up screaming “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THEY ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE”

              1. Anax*

                If you’re a history person and don’t mind branching out from true crime, Mike Duncan’s “The Storm Before the Storm” was also fascinating to me. It details the slow, step-by-step demise of the Roman Republic in favor of autocracy, and it makes for a chilling but fascinating cautionary tale.

              2. milksnake*

                I’d highly recommend The Zookeeper’s Wife if you haven’t read it yet. If Devil in the White City is a little damp I’d say Zookeeper’s Wife was left out in the rain haha!
                It’s about the Warsaw Zoo hiding people during the Nazi occupation, but goes into beautifully rich detail about them as people, and emotionally what they were going through.

            2. seejay*

              If you’re interested in HH Holmes, I actually enjoyed “The Devil’s Rood”, which one of my forensic profs recommended. It was a combined writing project between students and professor (I believe?) and I found it way more interesting than “The Devil in the White City”.

              1. Hello!*

                I love book recommendations! Thanks to both of you, will check them out once I am done reading Hillbilly Elegy for the 3rd time.

            3. Archives Gremlin*

              The first couple chapters of Devil in the white city are extremely dry. I pretty much had to skip chunks because I don’t care about architectural details but once Larson starts getting into the crime part of it, it goes much faster and reads better. I’m a little scared to see Leonardo DiCaprio as HH Holmes (cannot stand him as an actor. I think he’s horrible) but will see.

              If you like similar books, I HIGHLY recommend Edward Rutherfurd’s books. He takes a place and writes historical fiction around them, like London, Dublin, Russia, New York, etc. His Dublin book (In the US it’s published as two separate books, The Princes of Ireland and the Rebels of Ireland) is my favorite. The first parts of the book are kind of hard to get into (at least for me) but once I get into them, they’re good. They’re well researched.

              I could go on for days about historical fiction (it’s my bread and butter, especially Shoah (Holocaust) historical fiction).

          1. Jess*

            Oh no, I thought that book was very heavy on the gory details similar to how the LW is describing her coworkers conservation, and I felt it treated the violence as entertainment. I would not recommend it to this LW.

        3. darlingpants*

          Just a heads up that Roxane Gay is NOT a palate cleanser from graphic and explicit descriptions of sexualized violence against women.

          1. AngryAngryAlice*

            I mean yes that’s definitely true… but I guess I was planning on focusing on specific essays rather than reading her books cover to cover.

            Now if every essay in every book is like that… maybe I’ll table her books for now haha. Thanks for looking out!

      2. AngryAngryAlice*

        I second this! Although I’ll admit that I enjoyed his book more than I do his podcast. But they’re both good.

      3. Blerpborp*

        I’ve never loved the tone of MFM- I listen to some other podcasts that can get irreverent about murder but for some reason they just aren’t for me. But indeed, I love true crime but I fully acknowledge that a lot of it is exploitative and that there is an ick factor not everyone loves (specifically my husband who cannot handle it, I do think there is something there about women being more generally likely to be a victim of violence and finding something empowering about learning all they can about predators but I wouldn’t say it’s anti-feminist to not want to talk about grisly murder casually at work!) Basically, graphic murder convos need the buy-in of anyone who is in earshot and LW would be perfectly within their rights to say “hey can you chill with that?” BUT I do think it’d garner a better reaction to not start with “no true crime ever” but rather with a request “no graphic details” and see if that’s enough compromise for the LW to feel better about the situation.

    5. Cat*

      Shrug. It’s not my thing, but I don’t think everyone is obligated to be serious about serious topics all the time. People cope in different ways.

      That said, absolutely agree it’s not appropriate for work.

      1. Sarah*

        Yep. I love it and listen frequently (it’s my favourite long road trip show to listen to), and I have a lot of friends who are into it, but we try to keep our discussions to just texts/Murderino FB groups, etc. precisely because it is massively inappropriate for basically any public setting.

        1. EH*

          Same! Plenty of people don’t want to hear it and shouldn’t have to. Just cos I love it doesn’t mean everybody else has to.

          OP’s coworkers are being awful and need to stop.

        2. That Work from Home Life*

          Totally agree with all of this. That said, some of these comments are gleefully seizing on this letter to hate on MFM. Like I get it, they don’t like a popular thing. How edgy.

    6. Kelly AF*

      In my experience, the jokes on MFM are never at the expense of the victims, and Karen and Georgia really don’t discuss the crimes gruesomely or in much detail. I love MFM but can’t get into other true crime, because the draw for me is listening to Karen and Georgia talk about their own lives. I really don’t want a grisly recounting of every injury, I don’t want to hear 911 calls, and I couldn’t stomach even a reading of the transcripts of the Tool Box Killers recordings (which I understand TLPOTL did).

      I’m not judging people who are interested in a more factual, heavily-researched dive into true crime, but I do want to say that’s not what MFM is.

      1. RandomU...*

        But it seems as though the coworkers are, if not making jokes, at least trivializing their crimes.

        1. Temperance*

          I’m pointing out that most of the people commenting here on MFM have it super wrong.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            I think the comments at the moment are extremely confusing because on one hand there are a bunch of people suggesting it’s very obvious the coworkers must be fans of MFM; and on the other are a bunch of people saying MFM doesn’t bring things up the way the coworkers were have described to have done. So either: the coworkers do not listen to MFM, they’re listening to/watching/reading something else, and all the MFM discussion is completely irrelevant OR the coworkers do listen to MFM but their discussions at work are much more graphic/grisly/whatever than those in MFM. The content of however the coworker true crime fans get their info does not matter at all to the letter writer. Regardless of the source material, what the coworkers are doing is making OP uncomfortable and is inappropriate for work.

      2. CupcakeCounter*

        Agreed and they really understand that not everyone can handle their show (hence the disclaimer at the beginning of all live shows) and that it can easily be misunderstood.
        I’ve listened since the beginning and honestly can’t recall a time where I thought for a second they were laughing at the victims or reveling in the gory details (I’ve often found they tend to shy away or soften the language a bit to avoid triggers). I think there are a lot of people who then Google the stories they tell and get more of the nitty-gritty details.
        Victims and survivors are usually viewed as “sweet baby angels/angles” and revered/not to be forgotten.

        Its not for everyone (I get lots of looks when I mention MFM although I wouldn’t say I’m a full on Murderino) and that’s fine. I’m surprised that there are so many comments indicating that it is a very negative, gore-filled, laughing at tragedy style podcast because that is not how I view it at all.

      3. AngryAngryAlice*

        I’d like to push back on this and on the idea that people commenting here don’t listen to MFM. I think a lot of listeners were drawn to the podcast at first because of the reasons you listed, and they don’t exactly make fun of victims… but I do feel like they disrespect victims, victim’s families, and their listeners quite frequently. They say they’re receptive to constructive criticism, but when they get called out for being insensitive, they just push back (and Georgia blocks people en masse) without revising their behavior or making genuine apologies.

        I don’t know if you’re a member of any of the Murderino subgroups on Facebook, but I’m a member of maybe 10. The general and growing consensus in many of those groups over the past year has been that the women refuse to listen and learn, and they remain insensitive in many ways. Thus, large chunks of membership in those groups stopped listening to MFM (myself included) but remain a part of the groups for the community (which is great).

        I think that a lot of people commenting on this thread here are probably former listeners who got tired of waiting for K and G to change their behavior. Hence, the negativity. But I wouldn’t mistake criticism for ignorance (at least in many cases), because that just brushes away valid criticisms without giving them a second thought.

        1. Jack Be Nimble*

          Thanks so much for this! I’m also a former fan super turned off by everything you’ve outlined, and it’s really unfair to dismiss all criticism of MFM (or anything) by saying “oh, you just don’t get it.” I get it, but I find it to be distasteful.

          I’m still interested in true crime, but it really bothers me when people treat real-life tragedies like campy fun.

        2. Myrin*

          Yes. This comment section is literally the first time I’ve ever heard of any of this; I mean, I knew True Crime as a genre existed, vaguely, but I had absolutely no idea there are podcasts which are so famous and widely known that there are fan groups and real-life meetups. In fact, I had no idea these podcasts exist at all, and yet reading the comments, it seems like two thirds of the commenters regularly listen to them.
          Colour me completely astounded!
          Colour me also astounded that anyone could read the comments and come away with the idea that most people speaking critically haven’t listened to this podcast when in this first thread alone, almost every comment starts with some variation of “I used to listen to this/I like some things but not others about it/I regularly listen to it/I’m in a fan group/etc.”.

      1. Amber T*

        Reddit keeps throwing this at me… I have no idea what it is and based off the title alone, it doesn’t seem like my sense of humor. Just… no.

      2. Arielle*

        That podcast is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. However, if you’re saying “no thank you” to the idea of discussing the details at work, I can get behind that. I don’t even listen to it with headphones in case they get disconnected.

        1. Sharkie*

          Yep. Imagine THAT work convo. I only listen to it in my house.. with the headphones at low voulme…. but I would never ever talk about it except with like 4 people lol

          1. Typhon Worker Bee*

            haha, same! I will only listen to it when I’m at home alone, and I only talk about it with one friend. It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard, but it’s filthy. My friend and just scored tickets to the live show in March, so it’ll be interesting to see if we run into anyone we know!

        2. dramallama*

          I love it, but I never listen to it at work, because I a) don’t want to be the weirdo snickering in their cubicle and b) if somebody asks me what’s so funny… I’m not a good liar and I don’t to have to explain that one in my workplace.

          1. drogon breath*

            Yeah I take the subway to work and I’ve had to turn it off because I burst out laughing! I could never listen at work.

      3. Regina Phalange*

        Oh man, that podcast is amazing though. Super not work appropriate, but so great.

    7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      That was exactly what came to mind, first. I think it’s fine for folks to be fan of that podcast, but I also think it’s reasonable not to pretend you’re a host of that podcast and subject your coworkers to the dark topics you find intriguing. The absurd insistence that loving this stuff is somehow inherently “feminist” is a special kind of wtaf.

      I used to have to review death penalty cases, which includes reading all about the factual record. It is often violent, stomach churning, and incredibly depressing. I did not unload the details of, or my feelings about, those cases because I know it’s not right to put that emotional labor on others. The coworkers need to stop.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Yeah I really don’t get how it is “feminist”. That claim really baffles me.

        1. Wintermute*

          that’s the absolute essence of a thought-terminating cliche– “If I say it’s you must accept this and that means all criticism is you being “.

          1. Wintermute*

            apparently it doesn’t like tags, or does HTML I meant that to read “you must accept this [because it’s virtuous thing here] and that means all criticism is you being [bad “-ist”]”

    8. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I liked early episodes of the show, but I understand why their jokes are offensive or off-putting to others. I have a dark sense of humor, and I always interpret their jokes as ways to cut the overwhelming dread that comes from the actual stories.

      That said, the hosts typically don’t joke about the victims or surviving families. The coworkers seem like a group that hasn’t grasped the nuances of discussing murder in a non-offensive way.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        Yeah, the Facebook group got shut down by the creators because things got out of hand. Always some people around to not be cool.

      2. JB (not in Houston)*

        Agreed. Gallows humor exists for a reason.
        Like a lot of lawyers, my coworkers and I often work on cases with horrific crimes. We don’t joke in public about them, but I imagine some people would be horrified about what would seem to some like the flippant and sometimes jokey way we talk about some of the crimes. The thing is, when we are actually doing our work on the cases, we take our duties and the cases very, very seriously. Our jokes are a coping mechanism. Maybe some people don’t need a way to cope with facing that kind of stuff and having that kind of information floating around in their heads. But for many people, making jokes is a way to get some distance from it so you can sleep at night and not spend every minute of your day thinking about it.

        I am like the OP. I would not want to hear the kind of stuff she’s describing and would be horrified by the way her coworkers talk about it. But it’s not fair to say that people making jokes about terrible crimes are doing something offensive. It depends on who the target of the jokes are.

        1. whingedrinking*

          Just so. I know a lot of nurses, and people who stumble into their groups/conversations are often shocked by how “insensitive” they come across. One has to point out that it’s a very stressful and difficult job that brings them into contact with a wide range of people, whom they are required to treat with respect and compassion despite taking huge amounts of crap (some of it literal). You can be calm and professional and an excellent nurse all the time in front of your patients; that doesn’t mean you’re never going to tell a story about the weirder ones when you’re with other people who get it.

      3. Indigo a la mode*

        You’re right – they come right out and say that gallows humor and laughter is the manifestation of their anxiety about being attacked.

    9. Anya the Demon*

      Yes, sounds like that exactly. I love true crime podcasts and shows etc, but I HATE that podcast. I am completely comfortable discussing gruesome crimes, but NOT in a joking or trivializing manner; I would be truly uncomfortable with how your co-workers discuss it too. I think Allison is exactly right. Just stand firm. Say that this is not something you want to have to hear about because it’s disturbing to you, and then hold them to it. They’re being jerks.

    10. MsMaryMary*

      I mentioned true crime podcasts in passing at work yesterday. We were discussing the pros and cons of going on a cruise. My con is that it is a bureaucratic and jurisdictional nightmare if you are unfortunate enough to be assaulted or murdered on a cruise ship. A coworker asked which podcasts I listen to, and I very deliberately mentioned the journalistic ones (Serial, In the Dark, Dr. Death) and not My Favorite Murder. I love MFM, but as is clear in this thread, it’s not for everyone. Just like any other niche, slightly odd interest, comedy about true crime is not something you’d want to share with coworkers unless you’re sure they’re a kindred spirit.

  3. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox*

    Yikes. I’m a true crime person for sure, but I know there’s a time and place. I know the people I can talk with about it and if someone expresses discomfort, I stop (and I’m really talking more in friend groups. It’s a rare day that crime gets discussed at work, and grisly details are always avoided because…people can look those up if they want to).

    1. Aud*

      Yes! I also find true crime fascinating, but tend to steer clear of certain subcategories. If those details were discussed at work I would at best have trouble focusing for the rest of the day, but might even need to go home early.

      It’s one thing to discuss, say, the Ted Bundy tapes in a general sense without going into the gory details of the specific crimes, but at least at work everyone should have the sense to keep it vague and respond with compassion if a coworker voices their discomfort.

    2. Harper the Other One*

      Seconding this – and I’m currently reading a book about serial killers while my son has a lesson. I find it a fascinating topic but it’s not one for general public discussion unless others have also said they’re interested.

    3. TrueCrimeThrowaway*

      Oh OP. I am sorry. I’m also a true crime fan, but there is a time and place. And that is not at work. To say nothing of the flippant way they seem to be talking about it.

      Would it be possible to take yourself out of it and remind your coworkers that many people (including their coworkers) are victims of violent crime? It’s easy to read about these events and be so far removed that it’s almost like fiction. But those are real people with real family members, some of whom could theoretically be in your space.

      If you want a story because they say “Well that would NEVER happen!” you can use me: I knew someone who was murdered by a fairly well known spree killer/serial killer. My mom worked with a woman who was abducted and raped by someone who had a bunker in their backyard. And my husband’s cousin was murdered in an incident that had a huge impact on college campus’s across the country. I’m not a particularly interesting or unusual person in this aspect. And as a true crime fan, I get the desire to read and learn and watch. But I can tell you right now that if I heard a coworker talking about my cousin-in-law like that… (I never even met her – she passed before I met my spouse. But she is still family.) And if they claim that these things happened far away – my three connections are in 3 different states – California, Michigan, and NY. We are all very mobile these days and nobody would guess I was connected to these people. (feel free to say I’m a friend – if you need names for the argument I can share privately, but none of these stories are really mine to tell in a public forum like this)

      And if they say something like “Well, they could tell us it bothered them”, I would suggest reminding them that it’s pretty odd to ask someone to disclose what might be the most painful event in their life to coworkers or risk reliving that trauma privately every day. (I’m sure someone else could make that better. But I have seen my spouse when people talk about his cousin and it is really hard for him. Even when they are family. I would do anything to protect him from living through that again. It makes me sad when we forget that victims and their family were real people and there was real loss. Anyone reading true crime should never forget the victims and the survivors.)

  4. Fortitude Jones*

    Do you work in a morgue? What the hell?!

    Look, my coworkers and I used to make macabre jokes about bodily injuries and death when I was a claims adjuster – if you didn’t joke about some of this stuff, it would drive you mad. But this sounds like your coworkers are taking it to the next level (seriously – someone’s “favorite” crime was the rape and murder of a 6 year old?!). This is not feminism – it’s sadism – and your coworkers need counseling because something’s not right upstairs.

    1. RandomU...*

      I’m with you. I can participate in gallows humor with the best of them (But I firmly believe there’s a time/place/participants component to that which is critical).

      However, there is a line, that in my book, shouldn’t be crossed.

      1. Sabina*

        Fellow past practitioner of gallows humor here–I worked for 21 years in a law enforcement agency (civilian administrator). In that environment it was unavoidable, but I can’t remember ANYONE joking about the rape/murder of a child, or discussing gruesome details of cases with folks outside the agency (even family members usually don’t want to hear about it). Don’t feel weird about shutting this BS down. You are not the problem, your coworkers are being gross.

        1. RandomU...*

          My husband’s a firefighter/paramedic, all of our friends are nurses, cops, and firefighters. Dinner’s interesting in my house. But you are right, I know I don’t hear everything, I wouldn’t expect to. I don’t live it day to day.

          But I will tell you, there’s nothing funny when you see one of your good friends break down because he was seconds too late to save a murdered child.

      2. Rowena Ravenclaw*

        Rape jokes themselves are 0% okay, and they aren’t even usually explicit references to a real crime! How can anyone think it’s okay to joke about something horrific that happened to someone, especially if it isn’t hypothetical? Jesus.

    2. Judy Johnsen*

      I agree. But also there is a morbid facination with death. I believe humor that deals with this is called gallows humor. If the suggestions above don’t work, maybe noise cancelling headphones, or listen to music? Maybe try to get them interested in missing persons cases instead? These aren’t great suggestions, but if nothing else works, this might help.

    3. Indigo a la mode*

      I think the emphasis on the word “favorite” is misleading. I think it’s clear that these people mean “the story that most intrigues me” as opposed to “the best flavor of ice cream.” To people who didn’t experience these crimes, it’s like reading or hearing any other story, so it’s not altogether different from talking about your favorite Criminal Minds episode–which are largely based on real serial killers and real victims.

      Or, in my case, I *really* love Holocaust memoirs. Those come with an awful lot of recounting how real people suffered and died, but I don’t think it’s macabre of me to have a favorite Holocaust memoir.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Then these people need to say they find it intriguing because their language led the OP to believe that they take a giddy enjoyment in discussing these things, which to an outsider is incredibly off-putting.

        1. theelephantintheroom*

          OP is also clearly triggered by this topic, so I’m willing to bet they’re exaggerating a little. But I do agree with Allison. I love true crime podcasts, but I’ve only gone as far as to discuss which one to listen to next with coworkers. It’s not a topic you openly discuss the details of at the office.

      2. Jasnah*

        I think having a favorite Holocaust memoir is kind of macabre. It’s one thing if that memoir itself is lighter in some way, but it makes me very uncomfortable to use positive words like “love” and “favorite” with something as unquestionably depressing and horrifying as murder and genocide. I would prefer to hear “I find memoirs fascinating/intriguing/interesting.”

        1. LawBee*

          We don’t really have a word for “this is a book about a really intense topic that is often disturbing, but I find the topic fascinating, the stories of how people survived uplifting, and it’s incredibly well written. I re-read it often because the stories are gripping, and I learn something every time.”

          Barring that, the word “favorite” suffices. It’s short-hand. It is the book that she finds the most illuminating, the most touching, that really brings home the emotional and physical devastation. It is her favorite of that genre.

          1. Jasnah*

            “Favorite” is also shorthand for “this is is a book about far-off places, daring swordfights, and magic spells, and it brings me joy and hope.” As the listener I don’t know which one it is, and as someone with family directly affected by the Holocaust, I would appreciate some sensitivity in using shorthand that can be misconstrued as callousness.

            1. TassieTiger*

              Hmm..I don’t know about that, I’ve never heard of the word “favorite” having that type of shorthand meaning.

      3. SarahTheEntwife*

        I like weird medical history/trivia, but I don’t discuss it in general company either, because I realize plenty of people would find it offputting or even anxiety-provoking depending on the topic. Murder definitely falls into the “not in mixed company” category. Different people have very different emotional reactions to hearing about horrible things happening to other people. I know so many people who can’t bear to watch the news these days because it’s upsetting, even if it’s not something that directly affects their lives.

      4. JustaTech*

        It does feel like a limitation of language, to not have a single word for “thing that I find fascinating and intriguing but also terrible and I understand the scope of suffering”.
        For example, I’ve been listening to “This Podcast Will Kill You”, which is about infectious diseases. I love this podcast, I love learning about infectious diseases, I love that other people are just as interested. And sometimes they do take a very light tone (almost every episode has a themed cocktail). And one of the things the hosts talk about a lot is finding a respectful and honest way to express their interest and enthusiasm. Plague is cool in that it is very interesting, but no one thinks that plague is *good*.

        1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

          I was just coming in to comment about how TPWKY is another example of fascinating, enjoyable listening for me, but is viewed as disturbing by my husband and kids (and, as such, I don’t listen to it while they are in the car nor do I talk about the bulk of the information discussed). As soon as someone tells me that overhearing my recount of the disease of the week nauseates them, I refrain from discussing it in their presence; that’s just common courtesy.

    4. Asahi Pepsi*

      Kind of on-topic, but I currently work somewhere where sexual topics are okay to discuss with coworkers and I worry about how I’ll adjust to a more normal work environment. I’ve already had one incident where I mentioned something sexual while messaging a friend at a very conservative workplace. I’m aware some level of adult topics can be okay sometimes, but I have trouble gauging what level. What is a good way of making sure I don’t turn into Grossout Greg up there?

      1. Shoes On My Cat*

        Until you’ve been in a new place/department six months or more, a good rule of thumb is to avoid talking about sex, politics & overindulging in booze/mind altering substances. At all. Just don’t bring it up. (Respond neutrally, but don’t be the instigator) After six months you will have heard what & how much other coworkers & your boss say & can go from there.

      2. Safetykats*

        A very good rule – regardless of where you work – is not to use anybody company computer or messaging tool for any message you wouldn’t want to be public, or used against you in court. You don’t own any data you send or receive at using work resources, even if it’s a personal communication. Always assume people you don’t know, including your bosses, have access.

        And sexual conversations are really problematic. You might just gross someone out – you might end up in HR for harassment. And I think you’ll find in the latter case that it doesn’t matter if you thought it was culturally okay. Especially if you’ve provided an offended coworker with written or electronic evidence. So again, maybe just don’t email or IM anything at work you wouldn’t want your mom and all her friends to hear that you said.

  5. Librarianbyday*

    In my former place of employment, the HR manager was obsessed with grizzly crimes (she was not a good HR manager). She loved to randomly share these. I had to go talk to her once as one of my employees resigned and we barely stayed on topic as she then told me about some awful thing that had happened. Because of how awful she was we just mostly had to sit and listen – or try the “oh, I’m sorry, I have something else to do.” So, I feel for you, but agree with Allison that you need to tell them to stop.

    1. LizArd*

      I assume you meant grisly crimes but now I’m imagining what “grizzly crimes” might be. Picnic basket theft, perhaps.

      1. Shoes On My Cat*

        Could be both. I mean generally if a grizzly did it, it would leave a grisly mess ;-)

  6. Cee*

    Yep, sounds like My Favorite Murder fans. There are a bunch of them at my office too and it’s exactly the same situation. Luckily none of them sit next to me but it’s a frequent topic at lunch where I have to excuse myself — no idea how they can talk about cannibalism and rape while they eat. But talking during free time at lunch is different than where you can’t opt out. I’d definitely encourage you to speak up.

    1. Kes*

      Ugh, at lunch?? I would definitely ask them not to talk about that kind of topic while people are eating.

      1. Cee*

        I just leave, they know my position on it. I don’t feel comfortable policing them on what they like to talk about on their break and they bring it up much less when I’m around because they know I don’t like it. But yeah… no idea why they want to do that?

        1. Indigo a la mode*

          Because it doesn’t feel real. Murder is so outlandish and counter to most of our very souls that talking about murders is much like talking about Game of Thrones or a telenovela or whatever–especially because humans are so endlessly…creative?…with their crimes. And chatting about it in a group makes it feel even farther away (at least until you’re in bed alone that night, haha).

          I do understand why it disturbs people and wouldn’t bring it up in a group I wasn’t positive would be into it. But that’s the answer to your question.

          1. Fieldpoppy*

            Yes it’s a real community and the connection is about owning anxiety and vulnerability by subverting it. It’s a niche audience in a way but a broad one — My Favorite Murder is consistently in the top 10 podcasts and their live audiences sell out. It is a kind of feminism to seize your deepest fears and make them something you share in a way that feels empowering.

            I get why from the outside this night feel surprising but it’s a very very popular podcast.

          2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            I guess the unreality is why I don’t find them interesting. It seems kind of desensitizing or something. I do sometimes listen to an episode of true crime podcasts here or there, especially if they are related to cults, but in general I don’t like to hear about disturbing subjects. They get stuck in my head in an unpleasant way that I can’t shake easily — not like fear of the boogeyman or something that might be dismissed as childish, but more like an unwanted obsessive thought. It’s the same reason why I don’t really care for horror movies and books. I’m not afraid of the stories, but I do find them a bit unpleasant.

        2. Shoes On My Cat*

          When people are discussing murder/gory stuff while eating and I’ve asked them not to, they usually stop because most people are cool and can see I’m uncomfortable and we have OTHER TOPICS. Then if I’m not there, they go to town. All good. At an OldOldJob a certain clique wouldn’t and just gave me and my request the stink eye. So I called my horse friend and she gave me the lowdown on her horse’s health via GI tract synopsis that I have come to expect (I ride, too, so am inured to the topic because if you ride, you clean….). This time I joined in wholeheartedly, repeating most of what she said, and, well, her horse doesn’t have the best GI tract if you get my drift. It was GLORIOUS. They kept giving me stink eye and finally left. Company grapevine said they were so grossed out and couldn’t I have found somewhere else to talk about horse pucky?! Laughed all the way to the barn!

      2. Dahlia*

        People can get desensitized. My best friend’s got a bad sense of what would gross most people out to hear while talking because their mom is a nurse, lol.

  7. Venus*

    People have all sorts of backgrounds and histories where this sort of discussion would make it completely inappropriate for work. Using the ‘feminist’ excuse (because in this case it’s an excuse) against them, it could be suggested that good feminists would understand and be supportive of their colleagues who may have had personal exposure to violence.

    “Three of them work in the cubicles directly next to and across from me”
    This suggests that there is at least one who is further away from your cubicle. They shouldn’t be discussing it at work at all, but if they aren’t going to let it go then suggest they go to someone else’s space to talk about it. I have had this discussion with coworkers who were problematic, where one would visit his buddy next to me, and my response was to talk with the buddy and ask that they go somewhere else. This is what lunch/coffee spaces are meant for!
    In the case with my coworkers I still had to reinforce it quite a few times, but it because as simple as making myself visible and they moved elsewhere (“Oh, Venus wants us to move somewhere else”). I wasn’t super popular, but I was able to work!

    1. The Bean*

      Yeah my vote is to use feminist language back at them. Don’t frame it as there being something wrong with women being into true crime, or attach moral judgment. But DO say that “because of personal reasons I avoid discussions of violence” or “this sort of topic is bad for my mental health.”

      You can even say it’s triggering if it is. I think the term is overused because people use it in pace of “makes me feel sad/stressed/uncomfortable.” But a lot of people with ptsd and the like WOULD find that sort of talk triggering of panic attack’s.

    2. JJ*

      “People have all sorts of backgrounds and histories where this sort of discussion would make it completely inappropriate for work.” This this this.

      The general obsession with violent true crime is unconscionable to me, because I was close to someone who was murdered. The true crime people in the comments who found the story added real trauma to the survivors’ already full plates. Turning people’s pain into entertainment I guess is what reality TV and true crime are all about, but it’s definitely not ok at work, because who knows, you might work with me.

      1. JB*

        Yes, this! I also have personal experience with trama and violence and it is incredibly triggering to even overhear these types of conversations. I have had to leave work before-it’s just not something I’m easily able to pull myself back from once I get upset. My experiences are difficult for me to talk about, and they are upsetting for other people to hear about. Thankfully, no one has ever asked me to explain beyond, “This is triggering for me, please stop talking about this in my presence. I appreciate you.” One time, I used our instant messaging program to reach out and everyone responded very well.

        It never gets less embarassing to have to ask, but some folks are already familiar with this and are very considerate.

      2. Jasnah*

        I understand being interested in murder in the sense of murder mysteries, puzzles, whodunnits, that sort of thing. “What would cause someone to do something so inhumane?” is a question that leads to a lot of drama, which is interesting to people. But fiction rarely shows the aftermath of the murder, where the victim’s/criminal’s friends and family have to grapple with what has happened and live with it. I think some true crime enthusiasts enjoy the rush of solving the mystery but forget that they’re enjoying the drama of someone else’s real tragedy.

      3. Lucy*

        I am so sorry for your loss.

        Not the same, but when one of our cats was killed there was some local publicity, and for some time afterwards we were being sent messages from complete strangers wanting all the details. Some didn’t even pretend to be writing in sympathy or to prevent future attacks. To this day people will suddenly say “oh did you hear about that time” as if it’s a cosy story for a boring afternoon. My child still has nightmares about it, and he doesn’t know the details. Back off.

        Know. Your. Audience.

        But I don’t think you even have to consider that someone might have a direct link to something similar. These crimes are considered horrific precisely because they horrify people. We wouldn’t have a horror film on in the background in most workplaces, even if we might have other abridged entertainment content.

    3. Mia*

      Yeah this is what gets me. I kinda understand the framing that women talking frankly about macabre things could be seen as a refutation of patriarchal nonsense, but it’s also like, consent is a cornerstone of feminism. Forcing people to listen to really sensitive subject matter without even considering that it might be triggering or even just fear/nausea-inducing for them flies in the face of that.

  8. Calamity Family*

    I am huge true crime fan but there are things you don’t talk about at work and rape and murder is not one of them, even if your audience is interested. It could be misconstrued in so many ways and make people think less of you. Sounds like your coworkers don’t have a social filter.

    1. Aiani*

      This is the reason why I try not to get too caught up talking about my video game playing at work. If someone doesn’t know what you’re talking about it can come off sounding really odd and people might worry about you or think less of you. Basically just agreeing with you, not every topic is appropriate for work.

      1. Jennifer Juniper*

        In lots of families, the kid would have been summarily yanked out of his seat, received the spanking of a lifetime, and sent to bed without supper for saying that, followed that weekend by a compulsory trip to the nearest Holocaust museum.

        Of course, those families are not familiar with Zelda, either, and lots of people have hair-trigger tempers when people say things that sound inappropriate.

    2. Marriedacarrot*

      Same here. I listen to podcasts and read about true crime but work is not the place to discuss this. At all. Especially if it makes someone uncomfortable.

  9. Snarkus Aurelius*

    If you feel the need to escalate this to HR and/or other higher ups, here’s an article the best explains the dangerous consequences of being obsessed with true crimes and how that fascination exalts perpetrators and objectifies women.

    To be sure, that topic of conversation shouldn’t be occurring in the workplace, but it is. I’m hoping the points in this article can boost your argument (an argument you shouldn’t have to make but here we are) and better articulate your discomfort.

    1. Annony for this*

      Snark thank you for posting. It was an eye opening read.
      I have a family member that was murdered many years ago and I would be very disgusted to be in OPs shoes. I am not sure I could sit there emotion free.

      1. Sarah M*

        I typed a comment below that I think may have been lost, but yes. This. It would be so hard for me not to lose my $#@+ at these people.

    2. Indigo a la mode*

      On this note, in defense of My Favorite Murder (just because it’s definitely being dragged up above), the hosts seem to believe pretty strongly in talking about the victims and not the killers. I think true crime is interesting, but 100% agree that the victims are who should be remembered. We should let the killers rot in anonymity and never publish their names or faces anywhere.

  10. Liza*

    Yup, you can ask them to stop. If you don’t want to voice your own personal feelings, you can do so in an objective way: “This really isn’t an appropriate conversation for the workplace” or “I’m going to have to ask you to change the subject, this really isn’t conducive to a comfortable working environment.” Or even just “OKAY, lighten up guys!” is one I use in similar situations.

  11. olusatrum*

    Same thing happened to me! I recently started a new job and the manager in the area I sit in (not my actual department, small company, limited seats) plays the TV all day. He and literally 100% of the rest of the people in the room prefer to tune in to LivePD and Cops. All day. Every day. Thankfully my own sympathetic manager was able to help me put a stop to it (especially after a shocking death in the family made me particularly sensitive to graphic content), but WOW the effect on my emotional state throughout the day was practically tangible. I was so worried I would be hated for being the one person who ruined the LivePD viewing party for everyone else, but it’s been a week and a half and so far it’s just blown over. Obviously, switching to the game channel or HGTV or whatever is not actually ruining anyone’s day, it’s not anyone’s sole reason to work here, and it was a very small change that vastly improves my QOL here.

    My advice: I think the discomfort of asking them to stop is going to be greatly outweighed by how nice and calming it feels to know you won’t have to listen to upsetting content all day long. It’s such a small thing. They’ll get over it soon enough, or switch to instant messaging. If for some reason they’re not nice about it (unlikely), that still might be more comfortable than hearing about murders all day long

  12. Another_podfan*

    One thing that might help them understand the OP’s perspective and realize it is a legitimate one might be to suggest that they listen to the Victimology episode of the “Ologies” podcast? The ologist gives a really good explanation as to why she doesn’t appreciate some of the obsessive crime podcasts, and it might help to give these folks a different perspective in a medium they are likely to respond to. Plus, the Ologies podcast is wonderful – maybe they can talk about that instead afterward!

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Same! And I just looked at a past episode and its an interview with an alum of my college! I didn’t know her, but I also minored in the same subject, so…cool!

  13. Robbie*

    I love my true crime podcasts, but I listen to ones that treat the topic and the victims seriously. I will admit it is a mental leap to go from “let’s talk about death cults” to my job of pastoral care, but that is incumbent on me to switch from my choice of entertainment to my job professionally. This goes double when it is about an incredibly sensitive subject like murder, assault, etc.
    Totally speak up, say you don’t want to hear this, and tell them it is inappropriate at best. You are not overreacting, they are crossing professional boundaries.

    1. Jack Be Nimble*

      I’m not Robbie, but I enjoy Criminal, Stranglers (12 part docuseries about the Boston Strangler, but is much more about the victims and the investigation), Casefile, Serial, and the Generation Why.

      1. Jack Be Nimble*

        Oh, also, the Heaven’s Gate podcast. One of the reasons I like that one so much (and always recommend it) is because of the host’s deep and abiding empathy for those who lost their lives to the cult. It’s deeply human and deeply moving.

    2. kage*

      In the Dark is a great one as well which focuses on the investigation portion and problems more than the crime itself. The first season was focused on the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping (major case in the Midwest). I haven’t listened to the second season yet.

    3. Sister Mike*

      Also not Robbie, but one thing I really like about Casefile is the tenderness with which the host and the show’s writers talk about the victims. The host takes time to describe who each one was as a human being and almost eulogizes them. I’m interested in the mystery of solving the crime and in the drama of it, but the host and writers seem to me to be really good about treating the victims’ memories very gently.

    4. Robbie*

      I have found that the Parcast podcast series does a really good job. They have series covering cults, hostage situations, assassinations, lots of interesting topics. They also deal with it with a certain level of respect for the victims and sensitivity. Over all, really professional in my opinion.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Removed another discussion here recommending podcasts.

      When the letter writer is writing about a problem with people discussing these, it’s not cool to then discuss them more in the comments. (That’s not directed toward you, Robbie; it was the thread of replies.)

      1. Robbie*

        Of course, makes sense. Sorry for getting us off-track!
        If nothing else, this just demonstrates how easily we can get engrossed in the topic and forget to read the room, especially when talking about podcasts that are violence and crime-based.

  14. LSP*

    Honestly, given this topic and the fact it might be truly triggering for survivors of violence, if they don’t stop after directly asking them to, I would feel free to bring this to a manager or HR. As Alison said, this wouldn’t be appropriate for every topic, but sex, violence, etc. are not appropriate for discussing in detail in a workplace.

    I say all this as a fan of a few true crime podcasts (but really only the ones that treat it as news, rather than entertainment… I don’t like jokes about real suffering).

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yes, given that there are people who have had such things actually happen to them or around them, I think asking this to not be discussed at work is perfectly reasonable.

    2. Anonymeece*

      A friend-of-a-friend of mine was almost the victim of a serial killer who was quite well-known. She survived, thankfully, but her roommate did not. Talking to her, she’s well-adjusted, successful, etc. There would be no way of knowing she had been through that kind of trauma. I can’t even imagine if she overheard someone refer to her roommate’s murder and her experience as their “favorite”.

      I have a colleague who is interested in true crime, but there are times when it’s not really appropriate (in mixed company) and a way to do that respectfully.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        I can’t even imagine if she overheard someone refer to her roommate’s murder and her experience as their “favorite”.

        Right. It’s almost dehumanizing – these were real people with real horrors inflicted upon them, not characters in a movie.

      2. Lissa*

        yes, this is why even all the “they’re doing it to cope with their anxiety and actually anti-patriarchy!” doesn’t really change my mind on this. They’re still talking about real people who have families, friends etc. and hearing this sort of thing discussed casually would be intensely traumatic. I do not think everyone who does this sort of thing is terrible or anything of the sort, but I do think the “comedy-murder” thing is thoughtless.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          Agreed. Just because it’s a coping mechanism doesn’t automatically mean it’s appropriate for the workplace, especially if it interferes in others’ ability to work.

        2. smoke tree*

          I have to say, I’m skeptical about that “coping with anxiety” justification. Maybe it does help, in a “what would you do if the worst happened” sort of way, but it feels very entitled to me. I realize lots of people enjoy hearing about gruesome events, lots of people (such as the LW’s coworkers) get a kick out of feeling edgy, but don’t try to justify it as somehow therapeutic or feminist (?!).

          1. Lissa*

            Yeah – I think this is one of those things that people have latched onto, because it can sometimes be true, and is sort of – unimpeachable? Like, some people use dark humour or this type of coping mechanism, and that “plays” better than just being fascinated with murders, so now it’s kinda the go-to even though realistically, it’s not like the majority of people who get this way are using it like this – we just don’t know who is and who isn’t.

            It’s sort of like if nobody stands on the bus for someone, it’s true that anyone could have an invisible disability. But it’s faaarrr less likely to say that *everyone* on the bus does. Since we don’t know who does/doesn’t you can’t really call out individuals on it though.

      3. smoke tree*

        Yeah, I just don’t get this justification that it’s okay to joke about other people’s traumatic experiences to ease your own anxiety. Reading stats about murders, reading fictional accounts, making jokes about horrible events from your own life–no problem. Even if you privately find it eases your anxiety to read about these things, whatever. But I feel like publicly joking about other people’s specific, horrible life events crosses a line and the coping mechanism language just makes me more uncomfortable about it. It just seems like a smokescreen for voyeurism to me.

        1. anonforthis*

          Yeah. And I have to say that I do often see “it’s a coping mechanism!” “it’s gallows humor!” “EMTs do it!” trotted out when people are called out on saying really horrible sh*t at work, and I don’t really buy that either. Something being a coping mechanism (and coping with what exactly always seems to be unspecified) doesn’t automatically make it fine to inflict on other people when they can’t just walk out or turn the podcast off.

          1. Jasnah*

            Especially when they’re a pencil pusher, not a frigging EMT. What paperwork trauma makes this OK?!

            1. Lucy*

              I also suspect EMTs don’t use gallows humour in public, during actual work, but to decompress afterwards. They wouldn’t chat about “My favourite stab wound” during an actual callout!

              1. Pescadero*

                As someone who has a number of EMT friends, and an EMT mother-in-law… you might be pretty surprised.

  15. Lars*

    Their talk sounds like it would be seriously triggering to people who have experienced any sort of violent crime, beyond the obvious distastefulness of it all, in case you need another avenue to approach this.

  16. Weegie*

    The best true crime podcasts don’t go into too much grisly detail, only do so when inescapable/relevant, usually give a warning when they’re about to do so, and are *always* respectful of the victims and their families. This group of colleagues sound like they’re totally out of tune with that and have not thought through how the tone they’ve adopted is coming across to others. It might be best not to engage them in a discussion, but perhaps it’s worth asking how they’d feel if a violent crime happened to one of their relatives and others spoke about it in the way they’re doing.

  17. Veryanon*

    Wait, what? How is discussing the details of a violent crime somehow “feminist?” Did I miss the feminist memo on that one?
    At any rate, I have to agree that it’s totally fine to ask them not to discuss it around you.

    1. Squeeble*

      They’re probably talking about treating issues of violence, abuse, etc. as feminist issues, not so much the obsession with particular killers or grisly details. But I agree–they can talk about that stuff elsewhere! At work is not appropriate.

      1. Liz T*

        No, there’s actually a sentiment that these kinds of humorous murder interests are reclaiming or taking power over violence against women. Women are constantly made to fear for their safety, so talking about things in a lighthearted manner instead of a dire manner feels like a big relief to some women; they also feel relief to realize they’re not the only ones who like talking about it. That relief feels feminist to them.

        Whether it actually is? I’m not convinced. I’d be interested in a deeper dive on the matter. Regardless, insisting that it’s INHERENTLY feminist and there’s something wrong with you if you “don’t get it” is definitely not feminist, and way out of line.

        1. Squeeble*

          Yeah, you articulated it better than I did. Agreed that it’s definitely a to-each-their-own thing. It does feel feminist to me, but that’s FOR me, not for me to force onto anyone else, especially coworkers who just happen to be sharing my space every day.

        2. Caramel & Cheddar*

          To add to this, there’s also this idea that being able to talk about this topic in this very specific way is almost like turning a valve that releases a lot of stress if it’s something you’ve been through yourself? I’ve seen this concept presented re: sexual assault / rape and why some women might find rape jokes funny (and not the punching up kind), but I think the important thing is that you yourself have to have gone through that experience in order to find the catharsis in it. That’s not to suggest they *don’t* have this experience — I have no idea if they do — just that like most things, doing something while also being a woman doesn’t necessarily make it feminist.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          It’s not necessarily that speaking in a lighthearted manner about violent crimes is feminist. The feminist slant I’ve noticed on MFM is that they refuse to blame the victim, they slam anybody who does, they rail against the advice/instructions women have been given that puts them in danger (one of their catchphrases is “f*** politeness,”) and they encourage women to stand up for themselves and watch out for each other.

          That being said, they do also talk about violent crimes, and it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            And by “not everybody’s cup of tea” I mean “some people don’t want to be around for those conversations and their wishes should be respected.” As someone said downthread, this should be an opt-in discussion. The default should be “no.”

          2. Perse's Mom*

            Yeah, their two catch-phrases (F- Politeness and the sign-off SSDGM) are what I figured the feminism angle was coming from, and I don’t really disagree on that aspect, but it’s absolutely not for everybody and if OP’s coworkers are trying to use that to push back on OP not wanting to hear about it, that’s just not okay.

        4. RandomU...*

          This helped me figure out what and how I wanted to say on this aspect of the letter/coworkers.

          I feel like the coworkers are using the circular justification for their continuing to talk about this when others have commented on it (or however it came up). It’s the false equivalency (?) of: I’m a feminist> This is something I want to talk about > You don’t want to talk about it > You are anti feminist.

          It comes off as an excuse for boorish behavior.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            Yes, so much. It’s why I sometimes hesitate to identify myself as being feminist, because I’ve seen so much bad behaviour justified as being “feminist” because the speaker considers themselves as such, when it’s just straight up jerky.

        5. Oliver*

          This is a really good way to put it. Feels like the coworkers are treating their interest as something that can has an feminist stamp of approval, and therefore is always positive in any context, quantity, form, or fashion.

        6. PVR*

          But I think there’s a difference between discussing these types of things happening in general vs joking about specific events that have occurred. I have a darkish sense of humor and a fear of tornados. I think it’s completely different if I were to joke out of stress about there being a tornado while traveling through Kansas or Nebraska, or bringing my weather radio, or going the other way as soon as I see storm chasers. I have made statements like this and they are a coping strategy. This is completely different than joking about actual tornados that have happened, victims of tornados and the damage they have caused. It is very different to joke about hypothetical vs actual events, especially when there has been trauma and tragedy.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      My sentiments exactly. I’m into true crime as well, but I don’t randomly discuss it with people – let alone in a context like work! And even if I’m discussing it I try to keep grisly details to a minimum because not everyone has the stomach for that.
      Seriously, claiming it’s feminism is just the really bizarre cherry on top.

    3. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

      You may not find it convincing, but my understanding is that women (as a general enormous group, not every woman) have to navigate life fearing for their safety, to an extent most men (also general) don’t. These women believe that learning about and discussing true crime is a way to relieve the constant fear, and to also to some extent, give women confidence to go against the women-must-always-be-nice attitude many women were raised (by parents or society) to embody, and to worry about your own safety and well-being over the feelings of a man (specifically related to the many stories of a rejected man hurting a woman).

      1. Emi.*

        Counterpoint: wall-to-wall coverage of violent crime makes us more afraid than is statistically reasonable and encourages a “don’t go out there alone” culture, while focusing on spectacular attacks by strangers drains political energy away from the much larger problem of intimate partner violence.

        1. Liz T*

          That’s not exactly a counterpoint, since it makes more sense aimed at very SERIOUS coverage of murder.

          1. Emi.*

            I think it applies generally to detailed discussions of grisly details, and to pretty much any discussion that doesn’t put crime rates in context. Maybe whatever podcast it is does that, but it sounds like the coworkers don’t, and are claiming that the airing of details itself is feminist.

        2. Lissa*

          Also, the murders that tend to get really focused on by both media coverage AND true crime tend to be the sorts that happen less often but we perceive as happening all the time – sexualized murders of attractive women by serial killers.

        3. neeko*

          I don’t think that is true in this case though. Especially since a large amount of the crimes discussed in True Crime podcasts are intimate partner violence.

        4. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

          My interest in true life crime (which long predates any of these podcasts, none of which I’ve ever heard) is exactly the reason *why* I know that attacks by strangers are relatively rare, that intimate partner violence is by far the bigger danger, and that the dangers of going out alone were far overblown. It didn’t make me more afraid, it made me confident enough that I’ve been going out on my own, at any hour of the day or night, in any area I chose to, since I was a teenager (I’m in my 50s now.) (And true to statistics- I never experienced stranger danger- only intimate partner violence.)
          Knowledge is power.

      2. PVR*

        I think there are a fair number of women who find that these types of discussions reinforce the fear, rather than relieve it, and others who have been through trauma or are close to one of these types of situations find it downright triggering. It’s not that it’s not ok to engage in these types of conversations, particularly if you (general you) find it intriguing or cathartic in any way, but there should be a general level of understanding and respect towards those who feel differently.

    4. Jadelyn*

      At a guess, it’s a wild perversion of the general feminist concept that abuse and violence flourish in the shadows, we live in a culture that often silences victims of violence, which supports the perpetrators of said violence by shielding them from repercussions and making other perpetrators and potential perpetrators feel that they’re in the clear to do what they want, and the best way to combat this is to speak openly about abuse and violence.

      All of which is true and valid, but these people are twisting it into a pretzel to justify “therefore cracking irreverent jokes about grisly violent crimes is a Feminist Act!” Apparently they lack the nuanced thinking needed to recognize that turning serious issues into Clever Fun Conversational Topics is not the same as speaking openly about those serious issues.

      1. Carlie*

        Also: would you want someone who has learned to laugh at violent murder to be on a jury for someone who has committed it?

        1. skunklet*

          they don’t laugh at the murder at all in the way you think on the podcast. they’re not all all pro murderer, they’re not folks that would write to someone in prison (or if they are, it’s for the psychology behind the reason for the murder). they don’t want, at all, a murderer or rapist to get off scot free (which is why they’re huge proponents of End the Backlog).

        2. skunklet*

          They’re not pro murderer; in fact, this podcast in question would prefer it if there was stronger punishment for rapists, for example.

        3. 1.0*

          Oh come on. Having weird, gruesome, niche, or macabre interests doesn’t make you a monster any more than watching a slasher flick makes you a monster.

    5. in the air*

      The way I’ve seen this framed is that true crime, or TV shows like L&O SVU, can be a tool for people, particularly women, to process trauma or what can feel like an ever-present threat of gender-based violence. Which is fine as a personal therapeutic strategy but decidedly NOT fine to bring into the workplace or to force other people to listen to.

    6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      At first I was wondering if they were obsessed specifically with women who kill, given their feminist angle.

      Then they went on to talk about men killing their kid, so I’m like “okay….so no.” so that’s a no.

      It’s possibly just part of being “vocal” and doing what they want, since women are historically supposed to be quiet and appropriate, you know?

    7. Lilysparrow*

      One would think (or rather, hope) that this who claim to value feminism would also understand and value the incredibly basic principle of consent.

  18. President Porpoise*

    I’ve found that since having kids, graphic discussion of violent crimes towards children is much, much more upsetting to me. I get a horrible visceral reaction – and that’s just from the somewhat less graphic news reports. I would have a really hard time in this workplace.

    1. Turtlewings*

      I don’t have kids myself, but observed a very similar change in myself after my nephew was born. I dote on that kid (and his brother, now) like no tomorrow, and true-crime shows that used to just be distantly horrifying to me will now drive me out of the room.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        I’m the same way after the birth of my niece. She’ll be five in August, so I can’t listen to, watch, or read anything about violence towards children because I start projecting and fearing for her safety.

        1. Emi.*

          I’ve had the opposite experience — since becoming a mother I’ve been more drawn to reading horrible stories about violence against mothers and children, as a sort of superstitious charm against something like that happening to my baby. It’s definitely unhealthy for me, though, so I try not to indulge and I would certainly never subject anyone to it at work.

    2. KimberlyR*

      I agree. It sends my anxiety spiraling to read about crimes against children. And with the birth of each child (I have 3), it has gotten worse and worse. I can’t even watch shows like Criminal Minds anymore because they sometimes have child victims. I never watch Law & Order: SVU and I used to watch it often before kids. Hearing this at work would be a trigger for me for sure, and I don’t use the word “trigger” lightly.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        Same! I was a huge fan of the Law & Order shows pre-kid, and now I can’t even bear to have it on. If I were in LW’s workplace I would have to leave my cubicle every time they started discussing crimes. Or better yet, I’d just go to the manager. There really is no excuse for talking about this stuff in the actual workplace (i.e., not just in the breakroom but in the actual area people are working).

    3. Veryanon*

      Me too. My kids are older now – high school and college age – and whenever I see a news report about a school shooting, I get really, really upset. My kids were just a little older than the Sandy Hook shooting victims when that happened, and I literally couldn’t sleep for days.

    4. CMart*

      It was honestly shocking to me how big of an emotional/visceral reaction I now have to this stuff after having a child.

      When my first was a few months old, my sister told me the plot of the movie Arrival. She and I have always been essentially the same person, same temperament, same reactions to things etc… and wanted to know how the plot/big conclusion of it made me feel, as she was pretty “eh” after seeing it. I couldn’t even say “wow, yes, the thought of [big conclusion] is indeed upsetting to me” without breaking down into tears. I’m tearing up right now, 2 years after that conversation and never having seen the movie, thinking about it.

      And that wasn’t even violence against a child, just tragedy and a heartbreaking decision on a mother’s part.

      I would likely be unable to cope with listening to people talk like that around me.

      1. Jasnah*

        That movie was so sad and poignant and fascinating. I don’t blame you for having that reaction, but most of the movie at least focuses on the linguist’s journey with the aliens so maybe someday you could see it and enjoy that part.

      2. Katertot*

        I think this movie hit a lot of people differently. I think I cried for 15 minutes after it ended. I don’t have children, but I have a brother with a chronic illness, which definitely affected how I responded.

    5. CommanderBanana*

      Several of my friends who have had kids went through a similar thing – one had always liked to read murder mysteries and had to stop reading any that involved children or teenagers. It was too real.

  19. OG Karyn*

    This is one of those topics that is good for Gchat or whatever, or maybe, MAYBE the breakroom if you’re quiet about it at lunch. But certainly not the details of the crimes! Go ahead, share what you like about certain TC podcasts, but don’t talk about the crimes themselves at work!

    PS When Alison said, “(Game of Thrones, juggling, favorite nuts, or whatever),” I smooshed the words together in my brain and read it as “juggling nuts.” Laughed myself silly.

    1. Sharrbe*

      Juggling nuts – NSFW image or image of actual walnuts being lobbed in the air in the next cubicle. Could go either way.

    2. Ella*

      It really sucks that these people are being so judgmental towards you. It’s entirely understandable to find true crime discussions upsetting, and no one should be having those conversations around unwilling participants. I would caution about sounding too judgmental of their hobby in return when you raise the issue, though. Your coworkers are acting poorly here, but I don’t think it will help you get what you want if you imply anyone who enjoys true crime is a horrible person. I suspect you’ll be much more successful if you make it clear your goal isn’t to get them to stop listening to true crime podcasts or to never talk about them, but to stop doing so in a way that forces uninterested people to listen to said discussion.

      It might be worth suggesting they take their discussions to slack/gchat/etc, if that would be possible. My office has a separate slack channel for discussion of true crime podcasts/other grizzly stuff. We cover some pretty upsetting topics in our day to day work, so it’s nice to have a place where people who use gallows humor or true crime as an emotional outlet can chat about it, but it’s also cordoned off so no one who finds it boring/upsetting/objectionable has to hear it.

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      I also had the juggling nuts read and had to go back and read it multiple times (and I’m usually an excellent reader!)

    4. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

      I read the words correctly and understood the sentence just fine, but my brain still went JUGGLING NUTS, HEE HEE HEE because I have the sense of humor of a ten year old.

  20. Zombeyonce*

    OP, if not for yourself, do it for the co-worker that can also hear them but cannot say anything for their own mental health.

    I have a family member that was a victim of a crime I’m sure your coworkers would love to discuss in great detail (and they’ve surely discussed similar cases), but if that relative worked at a place like this and had to listen to these conversations, they would be retraumatized, their PTSD would go wild, and say would never be able to speak up about it. They would probably just quit. It would definitely never tell a manager or go to HR, mainly because it’s just not possible for them to talk about it (which they shouldn’t have to do to avoid conversations about violence at work!).

    1. RecFed*

      As a surviving family member of a homicide, it was a struggle to read this article and the comments. I would have a very hard time speaking up in a situation like this, it would be very hard to concentrate and not think about the things I try not to think about. None of my coworkers know about my family’s history, despite being “outside of work” friends, so you never know what people are dealing with privately.

      Please speak up and ask them to have their conversations elsewhere — and maybe be a bit more respectful. These are fictional characters they’re talking about.

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        I think this is where the reality gets lost for “fans”. REAL PEOPLE, and their family and friends, have been hurt, greivously. Their pain is not grist for someone’s giggle mill.

        1. Temperance*

          I don’t actually think that this is a fair comment at all. I’m a Murderino, and listen to the podcast religiously. I also lost a relative in a pretty violent way.

          The hosts don’t ever make light of the fact that there are victims, and they pretty much show more sympathy than any other medium that I’ve seen. They’re far more respectful of people on the margins of society (sex workers, drug addicts, etc.) than any other crime media that I’ve accessed.

          They don’t ever laugh at victims. At the killers/rapists, yes, there are jokes at their expense, but I think a lot of people who don’t listen to the show lack understanding.

          1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

            I’m truly sorry for your loss. I stand by my comment, however.

          2. That Work from Home Life*

            I’m so sorry for your loss. I had several family members die in a very tragic event, and I enjoy MFM tremendously, particularly because the victims are never the punchline. I think we can all agree that OP’s coworkers mocking victims and exposing her to grisly crime details without her consent is wrong and needs to stop. No one is advocating for that kind of insensitivity, but seeing MFM described with the same brushstrokes in some of these comments here is perplexing and pretty false imo.

            1. Jasnah*

              I think it’s hard for people who don’t enjoy talking about real life murders to draw lines between different podcasts that talk about real life murders.

              It comes across like:
              “I have a real discomfort with diet talk and don’t like podcasts about it.”
              “But this diet podcast is different, it’s more about your health!”
              “Yeah well I still don’t want to talk about health in the context of diets.”

              1. Caroline*

                This. At one point in my life I may have shared this fascination but by now I have grown some empathy I guess and have a fundamental issue with these podcasts profiting (whether that is money, attention, or something else) off the apparent salaciousness of other people’s misfortune. The fact that they are doing it in a respectful tone doesn’t change that fact. And frankly I don’t believe that if they weren’t appealing to people’s inner voyeurs that this podcast would have any kind of following.

                1. Jasnah*

                  You totally nailed my issues with this genre having a “moment.” I think it appeals to people’s worst instincts and makes me really uncomfortable.

          3. NothingIsLittle*

            I’ve listened to the show before, and while the hosts are careful to frame their jokes that way, it doesn’t mean that people listening will perceive them that way. It is absolutely true that some of the listeners are respectful and understand that the humor is never at the expense of the victims, but it’s also true that some of their listeners won’t make that connection through no fault of the hosts. (Personal opinions aside, the hosts do try to be sensitive about how they frame their discussions.) It might not be entirely fair to disparage the podcast in that regard, but comments like Grand Admiral’s seem to be addressing those listeners (a certain type of “fan” of the podcast) that don’t respect the distinction between the criminal and the victim and that seems very fair to point out.

            It sounds like OP’s coworkers haven’t made the connection that it is totally inappropriate to poke fun at the victims, since OP specifically said that they’ve made jokes “about the killers, the details of the murder, the victims, and the surviving families.” That’s way out of line in any context. The fact that it’s happening at work, where there’s likely a captive audience, is what really drives this home for me. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that their discussion is best kept to other venues and to privately think that something is very wrong with their lack of respect.

    2. BottleBlonde*

      Totally agree. I have a close friend who was the victim of a violent sexual assault and deals with PTSD from the incident (likely always will). Once I began spending time with her, I started to take notice how often people speak about rape and sexual violence so flippantly in mixed company. 20% of American women will be raped in their lifetime; 40% will experience some other type of sexual violence. When you’re speaking in a mixed group you’re probably always speaking to someone who is an assault survivor or is close to one. To be joking about these things at work…I just can’t comprehend.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Absolutely agreed. I have coworkers who have PTSD and are survivors of violent crimes (or are surviving families of victims of violent crimes). It’s not ok to be so cavalier about murder and violence, and it’s incredibly dehumanizing for all the real people out there who have had murder/violence touch their lives.

    4. J. N.*

      Agreed — these kinds of conversations can be so deeply and irretrievably painful for other people. I can’t believe the lack of compassion it would take to treat these subjects cavalierly.

      I have a friend whose sister was murdered when she was a teenager. It took my friend years to tell me, and it just destroyed the family on some profound, inarticulate level. They all got on with it, but the trauma will never leave them.

      My father’s youngest brother was hit by a drunk driver when he was thirteen, and lingered in the hospital for a week. My grandmother remembers going through the hospital room door, but literally has no other memory of that entire week, though she was in that room every day until he died. When people drive drunk or joke about driving drunk, the impact of witnessing my own family’s pain, second-hand, is more than I can stand. I have to say something.

      I know so. many. women who have been raped. So many. I know we’re not alone in this.

      I’d encourage anyone to say something (with compassion, with kindness). Bringing reality home to those folks might be doing everyone a favor.

    5. ThatGirl*

      While this is much more historical, my husband’s great-grandfather was an honest to god member of Capone’s gang and served time for his part in a murder. We’d always been told he was the getaway driver or something but a couple years ago I found some historical articles that revealed much more disturbing details. While he died before my husband was born, he was released from prison after about 10 years and came back, remarried his ex-wife and was a big part of my FIL’s life, who knew him as a kind and sweet old man. (So FIL was pretty disturbed when we found the new details out.) People in Chicago love to joke and boast about connections to the Chicago Outfit but let me tell you it’s much less cool and funny when you have a real, direct family connection.

  21. Howdy Ho, Neighbor*

    While I am a fan of true crime podcasts, I totally understand where the OP is coming from. Anytime I am listening to a podcast at work (I do a lot of mundane data entry) I always have my headphones in and if someone asks I just give the name of a different podcast. In general, I never broach the subject with anyone since I don’t know their personal history. One such example, a friend was at work, which is in Wisconsin, and people were discussing Making a Murderer and one of the women in the room was the victim’s aunt. To all you true crime podcast lovers, be respectful of those around you.

    1. RandomU...*

      This is one of the reason’s I’m not a fan of the true crime genre.

      I lived in the area during the murder and the later trial. (no connection to anyone involved in the horrible crime) I get asked by people from different areas what I think about the docudrama and if I think the 2 convicted were guilty.

      My standard answer “I really don’t know enough to comment, but I trust that the jury didn’t convict them on a whim and I’d be pissed if I were a family member of the woman killed and people who watched a tv program thought they knew better than those that sat through the trial and listened to the evidence.”

      1. Howdy Ho, Neighbor*

        Same. I grew up about an hour from where it all took place and my city’s name is mentioned in the series. Whenever people ask me where I am from probably 25-50% of the time Making a Murderer comes up. Some distant family came up to visit and they wanted to go on the tour of the “sites” like the junkyard, the prison, etc. I think it is one thing to be “fascinated” for lack of a better word of crimes of history such as HH Holmes or Jack the Ripper, it is another to have your “favorite” murder or crime be a recent one and the victim has living relatives. Goes back to my point, be respectful.

  22. Lola*

    As a consumer of true crime media (including, I suspect, the same ones OP’s coworks are into) this is no bueno, big time. On one level, it’s the same as any other interest: you can be as into it as you want on your own time, but you can’t – and shouldn’t – take it to work with you and force it on your co-workers. That goes for anything from pro wrestling to making model airplanes. And that’s magnified times ten when you’re talking about something as sensitive as true crime, where the details can be triggering (or just plain gross!) to third parties

    There’s lots of reason people follow true crime stories, from an interest in forensics to wanting to understanding the motives, to trying to make sense of the world you live in – and yeah, for some people that includes processing your own fear through crime stories in a controlled environment. But you can’t make that call for other people, and just because something is cathartic for you doesn’t mean you can assume the same for others. And it’s unfair to force others to participate.

  23. Granger Chase*

    Wow. What kind of person do you have to be to twist talking about grisly details of actual murders, rapes, and kidnapping in such a comedic light into some sort of feminist stand against misogynistic violence? Judging coworkers who are uncomfortable being subjected to overhearing these conversations and making light of the awful events the victims went through seems incredibly against true Feminism to me. OP, please do not take it personally if your coworkers try to imply that you are somehow not a feminist or that you are anti-women for asking them to stop having these conversations around you in the workplace. Honestly, some of the examples you gave were bad enough that I would escalate this to a manager if they do not stop after the first time you ask them to. Subjecting coworkers to constant violent, disturbing, and potentially triggering conversations is something I would want to know about if I was their manager.

    1. ArtsNerd*

      I understand your points and I also think it’s worth recognizing that humor is a common and useful coping mechanism in discussing (or living) terrifying and horrible topics*. Some other folks above discuss the hows and whys better than I could, but to my point:

      It would serve OP well in this context to use the framing of “different people find different things helpful or harmful.” Their coworkers find this subject of conversation helpful in whatever ways, but it’s harmful to OP and others and therefore they need to take it to a more private space. It’s pragmatically going to trigger far less defensiveness in their coworkers if they take a values-neutral approach than in telling their colleagues that their interest itself is abhorrent, even if they do believe that it is. It’s bringing it into the work environment that’s the key problem here.

      *For a personal anecdote (CW – DEATH): Keeping a list of all the real-life instances that would fit into a pitch-black comedy is how I got through my mother’s illness and death. The whole thing was awful awful awful (and briefly gruesome) but there were moments that were frickin’ hilarious — in large part because of the pathos of the context, and because the human brain just starts processing information in a different way when everything is terrible. If that makes sense? I expect it’s hard to relate to if it’s not your way of functioning, but I do believe it’s values neutral so long as the victims are not the butt of any jokes.

      1. Granger Chase*

        I am sorry about the passing of your mother and I am glad that you were able to use humor as a way to cope with it. I do see the value in using humor to cope with difficult, and even macabre, events in your life. My issue lies with the fact that they do not seem to be using it as a coping mechanism, but are viewing it through the lens of a macabre fascination and being incredibly disrespectful to the victims and their families in the way they are making light of it.

        I can understand that keeping things lighter can help to digest and process such awful stories, but that doesn’t seem to be how OP’s coworkers are acting. OP notes that they are making little one liner remarks about the specific people involved in the cases, and not just the general subject matter itself, which is really rubbing me the wrong way. I think that if they were just talking about true crime but not picking out cases as their “favorites” and making remarks about victims or their families specifically, I would still feel incredulous that this is happening in a work place but not be as personally upset by the manner in which they are discussing it.

        1. Ella*

          Just as many people aren’t going to want to tell the entire world about their personal reasons for finding true crime upsetting, people who like it likely aren’t going to always give a public rundown on the anxiety/fear/personal history with violence/etc that has led them to use true crime as an outlet. What they’re doing here is super inappropriate, and they need to stop forcing it on coworkers, but I’d caution against assuming the inconsiderate coworkers’ joking tone means they aren’t using it as a coping mechanism.

          1. Lissa*

            I really feel like the coworkers’ internal motivations here aren’t relevant – I mean, I get some people do it as a coping mechanism but I highly doubt they ALL do – macabre fascination is a thing too. And I don’t think it makes the person doing it “bad” even, honestly fascination with gruesome things is a pretty big part of human history, no past trauma needed. But I don’t really think the reasons matter to what we’re talking about here.

            I think this conversation has got a bit tangled because whether theLW knows or not, this sort of behaviour seems connected to a certain podcast and so some people here who like it are getting defensive and also people who really dislike this kind of thing are making comments about why people would do this, etc…

            1. Ella*

              I fully agree that the coworkers’ behavior is inappropriate no matter the motivation, and I’m not personally a fan of the podcast people are talking about here. I just wanted to push back against the idea that it’s possible or wise to judge someone else’s motivation for being interested in true crime.

              I also don’t think that type of judgement is particularly useful in getting your coworkers to drop a topic. LW, or anyone else trying to avoid true crime talk, will have more success with “I personally find this topic upsetting, please keep it private” than “your interest in this is gross and wrong.”

            1. General Ginger*

              What they’re doing here is super inappropriate, and they need to stop forcing it on coworkers

              1. Jasnah*

                “…but I’d caution against assuming the inconsiderate coworkers’ joking tone means they aren’t using it as a coping mechanism.”
                This doesn’t matter, and the “x but y” framing puts emphasis on “coping mechanism”.

                It should read “They might be doing this as a coping mechanism, but it’s still super inappropriate and shouldn’t happen at work.”

        1. Midwest writer*

          I’m a reporter. Newsrooms, police stations and hospitals are full of gallows humor. Time and place are key, but yeah, I’ve made jokes and comments that would totally be inappropriate elsewhere.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Yep, I made a similar comment elsewhere. It’s a thing. For some people, it helps. For some people, it’s the most effective way for them to deal with a horrible situation (or the horribleness of the world in general).

  24. annakarina1*

    I used to be into true crime in the mid to late 2000s, mainly reading books and watching TV shows (Cold Case, City Confidential, a lot of Law & Order: SVU). I stopped when I was really turned off after reading a book about Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (infamous Canadian serial killer couple), and hated having the details of the rapes and murders in my head, and quit it.

    Now it’s hit a way more popular boom with podcasts, the Investigation Discovery channel, the book about the Golden State killer, etc., and I still can’t get into it, I can’t see it as entertainment. I agree that the co-workers should probably keep this more to themselves, and that they can only laugh about it because they may not have any tragedies in their lives close to these stories. It’d be different if it was gallows humor to cope with trauma or having a difficult job (cop, nurse, mortician, EMT), but this sounds more like a general office, and could be triggering for anyone who has had murder in their lives affect them.

    1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      The Bernardo/Homolka cases were horrific and in my region, it kept many kids from having normal teen years. Parents became over-protective and going out alone was forbidden. This was when the trial finally happened which was ironic because they were locked up but the details were heartbreaking. I don’t want to hear anyone yukking it up.

      1. Hello!*

        We had the Halloween Killer in my area years and years ago. Trick or treating is still during daylight hours even though it happened in 1973. People are constantly on edge, especially since he will possibly be getting out of prison soon.

      2. Pommette!*

        Yeah. I have intense memories of the trial coverage and reactions to it. I was really young (younger than the victims), but I remember the intensity of the debate about whether/what information or materials would be released. I accidentally learned some details (thanks for the nightmares, local news!), and I remember understanding why the victims’ parents didn’t want everyone to know everything about their daughters’ horrible last few days. It made me really leery about True Crime (though I’ll admit that not all True Crime is voyeuristic, and recognize that some has sociological value): sharing (and revelling in) stories about someone else’s abuse and victimization can actually hurt the victim (if still alive) and the people who loved them. A real person’s death isn’t entertainment. Don’t talk about it at work like you would your other hobbies.

    2. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I *hate* the ID channel. My mom is constantly lecturing me on the various ways I will get murdered going about my daily business. I’m not diminishing the importance of street smarts and all, but a murder is not going to jump out of the dairy case and pull me into the walk-in freezer, and a murderer probably isn’t going to rappel off the roof of my apartment complex and swing into my upper-story window, and I am for darn sure not staying home between the hours of 4 pm and 8 am the following morning just because it’s dark out and I could get murdered.

      1. Veryanon*

        My mother does this too. When I have to travel for business, she gets all worked up unless I send her my itinerary, and text her periodically (“I’m in the security line now! I’m getting on the plane now! We just landed! Now I’m at my hotel!”). Yes, I’m 50 years old with kids of my own and my mother *STILL* does this to me.
        Also, bonus points for “STREET SMARTS!”

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yours too?! Thank god I’m not alone, lol. I’m not married and I’m in my early 30s, but I also regularly travel alone, so my mother hounds me constantly about sending her texts all throughout my travel to let her know where I am. It’s so annoying and exhausting.

          1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

            “Confirm for me that you’ve locked all your doors and windows, and have put a post-it note over the peephole before you hang up…”

            No, this is your neurosis not mine.

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          At one point, when I was driving across a state moving for an internship, my grandmother called me and 1) yelled at me for answering while driving (I wasn’t, I was at a rest stop) and then 2) yelled at me for stopping at a public rest stop because there was a murderer somewhere vaguely in that state that focused on rest stops. Thanks, Grandma, but it’s an 8 hour drive and I had to pee, and it’s way better lit and has attendants which to me made it safer than the creepy dark gas station I also passed.

        3. You can call me flower, if you want to*

          Omg your mom too?! My mom literally cried because I refused to add her on find a friend. Boundaries are important, but she just doesn’t get it. She thinks I’m going to get murdered walking into Target at 8:00 at night. It doesn’t matter that I’m almost 30 and married. Business travel really bothers her. I never tell her when I’m taking a Uber. She loses it.

        4. CommanderBanana*

          Hah! Whereas it would take my mom a few weeks to be like “oh yeah, I had a daughter around here somewhere…”

          When I was younger and leaving the house, she would yell “don’t get kidnapped! I don’t have any good photos of you!” as I was leaving – but then, gallows humor is strong in my family.

      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        The thing is, for me, that yeah, something horrible could happen. Obviously it does with some frequency and there isn’t always a way that it could have been prevented. But I view it much as I view terrorism. I spend a lot of time in London and have been in the vicinity when an incident occurred, and I have heard people saying things in public that disturbed me enough that I contacted the police. I do my best to stay safe and alert for possible danger, but at the end of the day I am not going to cower in my house and never travel or go out and enjoy myself for fear that I might be an unfortunate victim. If I do that then those who would seek to deprive me of my life have already won, because I’m not actually living.

    3. Anax*

      I definitely have made jokes about true crime as a way to deal with my own trauma – it’s that pitch-black gallows humor for me.

      But a big difference is… man, when you’ve been traumatized and you see the way people _flinch_ when you talk about your life… I think most folks learn quickly not to share those stories in mixed company. It’s not a fun transgression; it’s just exhausting to have to comfort people, assure them that you’re okay, wait and see whether they treat you like you’re fragile or tainted. That’s not an emotional load which non-traumatized true crime fans have borne, and I suspect that’s part of the reason some fans show such poor judgment.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        This is a fair point and your description of the flinch and assurances etc. is so very true.

    4. Watry*

      I’ve had/I have these kinds of jobs. My degree is in a field where digging people up is a thing, and identifying crime/accident victims is another thing. My current job is in a police department, though I’m not actually a cop. As I type this I’m processing paperwork for juvenile offenders.

      a) Both of those things involve gallows humor but we’re totally sure to not inflict it on those outside, and it focuses only on those things we’re working on. CW CHILD DEATH–My boss is also really good about letting us breathe. I spend a week last month looking at pictures of a deceased child and she checked in on me pretty frequently.

      b) I still can’t stand how much ID my mom watches.

  25. Dino*

    I consume a lot of true crime and have since I was a preteen and these coworkers are being WILDLY inappropriate. This should not be a topic of conversation at work.

  26. Sara without an H*

    What the French Toast???!! Yes, OP, ask them, politely and professionally, to knock it off. This is as bad as compulsively talking politics in the office. Fine on your own time, just not at work.

  27. Carrotstick21*

    I am a fan of the podcast referenced here. This summary seems almost purposely crafted to misrepresent and cast aspersions on the spirit and content of the podcast. I mean, sure, the LW should tell the coworkers to keep their interest in true crime between them and out of office hours, but there seems to be something much more going on here where the LW wants to spark outrage by deliberately twisting their words.

    1. Emi.*

      It’s not a summary of the podcast, but of how the coworkers are discussing it, and we can take the LW at her word there regardless of which specific podcast(s) they’re listening to.

    2. MissBliss*

      Reading the comments, I’m inclined to believe that the OP genuinely feels the way they’ve described and that many other people would, as well. As a former fan of the same podcast, I understand the appeal and I don’t think that the hosts are ill-intended. But the community can get straight up gross– and I was a big fan for a while, and still have friends who are. You can disagree with the OP but I don’t think that means they’re trying to spark outrage or twisting their words. The podcast can look and sound really weird to people on the outside, and people, like me, can come to think it’s not so great after enjoying it for a while.

      1. Kwazy Kupcake*

        I had to take a step back from the podcast after I went to a Q&A for “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” that happened in the Sacramento area. In attendance were real actual victims of the GSK’s stalking/burglary/rapist phase, along with family members of people he had killed. But in that same audience were dozens of cheering MFM fans in Stay Sexy Don’t Get Murdered shirts, and it just felt so… well, as you put it, gross. I really appreciate the way Karen and Georgia talk about mental illness, their struggles with eating disorders and substance abuse, and the pervasive culture of victim-blaming, but there’s a certain type of fan who takes this waaaaayyyyy too far and seemingly can’t turn on their filters. It sounds like the LW’s coworkers are in that group.

      2. neeko*

        Yes, I think some fans of the show can be pretty awful. It’s one of the reasons I stopped listening.

    3. Alma*

      I agree. The podcast people here are disparging doesn’t go into grisly details. They also focus on the victims. YOu don’t have to like the podcast. You can ask them to stop talking about it. The commenteriat needs to stop passing judgement though. We’re allowed to like different things, and yes I plan to go to a murderino meet up. Where else am I allowed to discuss this stuff? It’s being made very clear here how despicable a person I am for being interested true crime and processing my emotions through humour.

      1. VelociraptorAttack*

        I haven’t listened in about a year but when I stopped listening it was because I felt it was getting less and less focused on the victims, as I mentioned in a comment above.

        There were times that things felt a little too jokey but overall that never bothered me too much though I do find that now I’m more drawn to long-form podcasts like The Fall Line.

        I do think K&G have done some really wonderful things with the spotlight they’ve gotten though and I don’t think they take things too far in terms of “grisly details” but it’s possible people research cases and then go into more in depth detail when discussing it and that may be what is happening at OP’s workplace.

      2. Bagpuss*

        I don’t see anyone suggesting that people who listen to this kind of podcast are dspicable people.

        (i) treating real crimes, with real vicitms, as entertainment (which is what the LW describes her co-workers as doing, which doesn ot imply that eveyone withan interest in tre crime treats it that way) is distasteful for a lot of people, and
        (ii) Continuing to discuss graphic vilence in front of people who have asked you not to, and mocking or denigrating eople for asking, which again, it what the LW is describing, is unpleasant beahviour in any context, and particualrly inappropriate in a work context where the people having to listen maynot be able to remove themself from the situiation.

        None of this means that eveyone who listens to / reads / watches things about true crime is a despicable person nor that eveyone who is interested in thsoe things acts inappropriate around discussing them.

        However, based on the information which LW shared, her coworkers *are* beahving ianppropriately.

        If they wanted to have a private meetup to discuss thier sahred insterest, that would be absolutely fine.

    4. Emilia Bedelia*

      I don’t think we should speculate on what the coworkers are watching/listening to- the OP literally does not mention a podcast at all so there’s no reason to assume they are fans. As evidenced by the many commenters here, true crime is certainly having a moment and they could be fans of anything.
      Even if they were just listening to the local morning news, it’s the tone of how the coworkers themselves are talking about it that is really the issue. It’s possible to talk respectfully and non-intrusively about disturbing topics, and it’s also possible to talk in a non-work appropriate way about appropriate for work topics. The coworkers are managing to be both obnoxious and inappropriate for work, so it’s not being pearl clutchy for OP to ask them to stop.
      To draw an analogy, I don’t think it’s wrong to eat tuna fish sandwiches at one’s own desk at work (even though personally they make me gag), but if you leave one on my desk over the weekend so that it’s extra nauseating and unavoidable for me, at that point it becomes not okay.

      1. Temperance*

        It’s very clear what OP is talkign about from her language – there’s exactly one podcast called “my favorite murder”, and it’s silly to try and erase that.

        1. RandomU...*

          “True crime is their favorite form of entertainment. They spend long periods talking about the gruesome details of their “favorite” crimes. (Yes, they have referred to certain rapes, murders, and abductions as their “favorites.”)”

          This says nothing about the podcast and does not call out “my favorite murder”. The OP was stressing the fact that the coworkers were discussing their most preferred crimes. As in, “Oh yes the Dahmer is my favorite serial killer. I like him much better than Gein”

        2. EventPlannerGal*

          I agree that they most likely are talking about My Favourite Murder, but there’s already a lot of comments getting drawn into the minutiae of why MFM is actually good/bad/feminist/whatever and I think it’s a bit of a red herring. The detailed discussions of the crimes described obviously wouldn’t be any more acceptable to the OP if the colleagues were fans of Serial or The Ted Bundy Tapes or The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and there’s plenty of dark comedy takes on true crime out there.

        3. Elsajeni*

          All she says is that her coworkers refer to certain crimes as their favorites; people absolutely do that outside the context of the My Favorite Murder podcast, whether they’re listeners or not. (If you follow other true crime media, the “unsolved mysteries” subreddit, etc., you’ll see arguments about this come up from time to time — it’s pretty common to refer to the true crime story you’re most interested in or the case you’d most like to see solved as your “favorite,” and also pretty common to feel that that’s inappropriate and disrespectful of the people involved.)

        4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          It doesn’t really matter if they are talking about stories they heard on MFM, nor does it matter if the actual show is more respectful. If the coworkers are treating the subject in the way the OP describes then that is the problem, not the actual podcast.

          There are so many true crime podcasts right now that it could well be that the coworkers are not exclusively talking about that particular show in any case. Whenever I’m browsing through the “most popular” section in my favorite podcast app to see if there’s anything new I would like, I’m inundated with true crime stuff. MFM may be wildly popular but it is far from the only source of this kind of subject.

        5. Arts Akimbo*

          And yet I would never have known what podcast OP was referring to if not for the commenters here bringing it up…

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I really think this is the wrong focus. It also redirects attention away from the problematic behavior going on in the workplace in order to lash out at OP. I don’t think that’s helpful to OP in navigating this situation.

      There’s no evidence that OP is disparaging a podcast or is trying to be cunning or to “spark outrage by deliberately twisting their words.” What bothers OP is how their coworkers are behaving, and that behavior is objectively inappropriate in the workplace. Honestly, it sounds like they’re trying to parrot or recreate MFM but are simply not as good at it as K&G. If they’re making jokes about victims, the nature of the crime, or surviving families, then they’re already failing to comport with MFM’s standards around its comedy.

      The validity of MFM is not at issue. OP can opt in or out of listening to that podcast. But OP cannot opt out of being surrounded by coworkers who are trying to recreate the podcast in their workplace. As a result, it’s reasonable to ask the coworkers to modify their behavior.

    6. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      The OP didn’t reference a podcast. They referenced the behavior of coworkers. What is your basis for the claim that the OP is misrepresenting the things they have heard from their coworkers?

    7. Myrin*

      There is no podcast referenced here.
      The only thing OP says in that regard is “True crime is their favorite form of entertainment.”, which could mean books, podcasts, radio shows, TV shows, and probably some other forms of entertainment I’m not thinking of at the moment..
      Ironically, this comment seems almost purposely crafted to misrepresent and cast aspersions on the spirit and content of this letter.

    8. EventPlannerGal*

      I think this isn’t really the place to be getting defensive about your pet podcast, honestly. Even if they’re specifically talking about My Favourite Murder – and who’s to say that’s the only or primary type of true crime they’re interested in? – talking about it at work that frequently and in that level of detail is hugely inappropriate and thoughtless. We have no reason to think the OP is twisting their words or that there’s any huge background issue going on, other than the OP not wanting to hear about the abuse and murder of children while at work.

      1. Lissa*

        Yeah – the LW might not even KNOW it’s a podcast, and just people here realized that is where they are getting their information – and yes, this is how people who don’t know at all about the podcast might see it, without context. Therefore, don’t put people in the position of seeing the worst of this kind of thing without context! People with an interest like this also probably consume more than just one podcast.

        I get that it sucks to see people hate what you like, especially when you strongly feel they just don’t understand it like you do. But it’s hardly shocking or surprising that people react badly to shocking, violent things. I am not seeing “everyone who does this is an irredeemable person” that some people are getting.

        Honestly if you like something you know to be controversial, where the controversy is often part of the appeal, of course lots of people aren’t going to like it.

    9. Mia*

      This seems like a really unfair read of the LW’s concerns. I like true crime podcasts; hell, I host one (albeit a victim-focused one), but I still completely get why hearing someone talk about their “favorite” violent crimes would be really offensive to people who aren’t into the genre. And the fact that they’re not just saying “I found this story fascinating” but talking about the actual *details* is even worse. I really don’t being understandably alarmed by that is an attempt to spark outrage.

  28. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    Sadly, I knew several persons who were murdered or seriously assaulted and I would have a very hard time listening to the laughter and joking at someone else’s suffering.

    1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      Reducing this subject matter to humor is desensitizing, and I think that’s a very bad thing. *** Not including those subcultures that use it as a coping mechanism, like police, EMTs.

      1. milksnake*

        I’m curious about your justification that only specific subcultures are allowed to use humor to process difficult information?
        We’re all human, and these are social events that branch out beyond the first-responders.

        1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

          They live in a very different world than most of us who sit in an office. They deal with it first hand, so yeah, I think they get a pass if they make jokes among themselves.

          1. Anax*

            I do think “most of us” is a little misleading – I know you don’t mean to minimize the experiences of other folks who have dealt with trauma or major mental illness, but that’s another group which is likely to use a lot of dark humor to cope with first-hand trauma, and it’s a pretty large and invisible one.

            1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

              If you mean that trauma survivors are using dark humor to cope with their OWN pain and experiences, sure, if that helps, go for it. I am talking about laughing at OTHER PEOPLE’s pain, not your own. And all my comments on this thread are aimed at supporting/protecting victims and sufferers.

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah I think people here are being a bit disingenous – yes, dark humour is a thing. My brother and I have made a ton of terrible jokes about the recent-ish death of my father. But I would really not be OK with others doing that, and even we are careful not to do it around say, his sister.

                Also, dark/black humour and grisly fascination do both exist and I think acting like every instance of this kind of thing is completely about coping mechanism and not the latter is being overly optimistic.

          2. Choux*

            I think reporters get a pass as well. I worked as a general assignment reporter for a while and one year I covered the deaths of, IIRC, six people ages 14-20. One was electrocuted. The rest all died in grisly car accidents. By the end of that year, I had to come up with my own gallows humor to get through it because otherwise I would have been a basketcase.

            1. Midwest writer*

              Yep. I’ve been in newspapers for more than two decades. I’ve definitely joked with co-workers and police officers about things that aren’t actually funny because it helped to diffuse the moment. I work hard to keep it to specific times and places, though, because it’s definitely not for everyone.

            2. Batgirl*

              Yeah; cops and emergency personnel joke with you when you’re a reporter, especially when they see you’re about to lose it. But one of the reasons that’s acceptable is because it’s a closed environment and you’re talking about shared experiences. It’s not like we would have talked to the general public like that…

        2. Spencer Hastings*

          This use of “allowed” annoys me, but I do think there’s a difference between dark humor regarding one’s own experiences and that of others.

        3. Bagpuss*

          I don’t think the distinction is between professions, I think the distinction is between using humour as a way of dealing with your own experience and laughing at other people’s misfortune.

          For instance – I am a lawyer and in the past, dealt with a lot of cases involving children being taken into care by social services. This meant having to read very detailed and graphic reports (and in some cases, view video evidence ) detailing serious abuse of children. I also used at one time to deal with criminal cases and gain, that could involve having to study, in detail, pretty graphic evidence and spend time with the person responsible (or accused ofbeing responsible)
          There were certainly times when one way I coped with this was through dark humour – BUT context matters.
          I would only ever use that kind of humour In private, where the only other people around were other professionals dealing with thesame material or same type of material.
          But I would find it inappropriate and distressing if people who were not involved in that kind of situation were making jokes about those victims, and even for those who have had similar expeiriences, I think it’s really importnat to think about the context of the conversation.

          On a similar level, I think detailed, graphic conversations or jokes about (say) medical procedures, or even child birth, have a time and a plac eand are unlikely to be suitbale for watercooler conversations.

  29. agmat*

    They have to stop. Hearing those sorts of things every day would give me nightmares. Not just about myself, but I have a small daughter and if I think too hard about all the possibilities of how she could meet her end…it’s paralyzing.

    Those just are not work safe topics.

  30. Laura H.*

    … um yikes… I’ll admit I like true crime stuff but I’m more interested in the ways they get caught/ the insanely clever forensics that help catch them.

    I’m still in awe at how they reassembled/ managed to partially read a (now outdated) floppy disc that had been shredded apart by shears by using post it adhesive and iirc, attaching (parts of) the busted disc to an intact one.

    But yeah the actual crimes are very much at least squicky and would def be off the table for work convos.

  31. NW Mossy*

    Oof, yeah, I wouldn’t be down for this either, even considering that I’ve loved mysteries and true crime since I was old enough to read them. I still really appreciate the form and read them often, but my tolerance for graphic violence (especially towards very vulnerable people) has dropped off a lot over the years. As much as it’s a total cliche, having my daughters changed my perspective such that I can’t interact with those kinds of stories without feeling overwhelmingly saddened and anxious.

    As for how to handle it with your colleagues, I’d say “hey, I know y’all dig this and want to share this connection, but I don’t have the same tolerance you do for the graphic details. Mind bonding over it out of my earshot?” As long as your approach is assiduously neutral about whether or not being into this stuff is good or bad and you’re focused on the result you want (not talking about it where you can hear), it should go over OK. And if they’re jerks about it, escalate it to your boss.

  32. weak stomach*

    I had a similar problem I actually considered writing in about. I am the supervisor at my site and my coworkers love to watch true crime shows at lunch. If I were a coworker I would have no problem asking them to switch channels. But I don’t want it to be seen as “I’m the manager so I get to decide what watch.” So I eat in my office – I’m the only one with an office. I’d rather eat at a table. Earbuds are not an option because it is too much stimulus while I’m eating. But I cannot “stomach” grisly murders with my BLT.

    1. RandomU...*

      I had a “pg 13” rule for one of the groups I managed. Conversations tended to wander into what I would call interesting territory. Nothing outrageous or HR worthy, but topics better left for outside of work time.

      TV shows like this would be a little fuzzy, since they would fall under the pg 13 heading, but I’d probably just say…

      “We need to give the murder and mayhem a break at work. It’s not the best topic for the workplace… and I’d rather we not all get ideas on how to ‘eliminate’ problem people in our lives… Especially if that problem person is me for changing the channel (this last part said with a raised eyebrow and a smile while looking around the room).”

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You should always feel okay to censor things like this, it’s not a supervisor choosing what you watch, it’s a supervisor laying down ground rules on what you watch. You can absolutely say “we need to keep it to things that don’t have disclaimers on them.” Let them get upset about it, they’re in a work environment, they have rules.

      What happens when you hire someone who isn’t on board with this kind of stuff, is uncomfortable bringing it to your attention because you allow it and just sneak off to your office? They don’t have an office to go to and are in the same situation as this OP :( Protect the people who may not feel like they can speak up and set rules that are reasonable! That’s what supervisor roles should be doing.

      1. weak stomach*

        Point well taken but where do you draw the line? One person always puts CNN on. Others like hiphop reality shows or competitive baking shows. Any of these could be offensive/triggering to others and don’t have disclaimers. The first person in the room usually sets the channel. Also, being able to watch TV at lunch is definitely seen as a perk. No sarcasm intended here – genuinely asking for advice/input.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          I think “anything could be offensive/triggering” is a bit of a red herring. It doesn’t really matter if this content could be problematic for someone — the question is whether it’s problematic for anyone in the room at the time. Don’t borrow trouble for yourself. Instead, foster a culture of encouraging and accepting requests to change the channel away from a specific episode that isn’t to someone’s taste.

        2. RandomU...*

          That’s why you get paid the big bucks… so to speak. You will have to make judgement calls on things like this. Sometimes it can feel arbitrary, but sometimes judgments are. It’s like that saying I can’t tell you what porn is, but I know it when I see it.

          As a manager you can’t fit all your decisions into nice neat little boxes. They should still be reasonable, but it’s ok not have blanket rules. In most cases it’s better to not have blanket rules, because you are able to use judgment.

          Common sense and defaulting to your employees being adults are solid starting points. Yes, a cooking show could trigger something, but it’s not a common trigger. Murder, violence, or crime on the other hand has a pretty good chance of affecting some people.

          1. RandomU...*

            I’ll describe some of my arbitrary didn’t fit into a box ‘rules’ when I managed the team I was talking about above.

            -Holiday music. Can’t stand the stuff.. but other people like it. We had 1 radio in the warehouse. Normally I didn’t care what music people played as long as it didn’t cross any obvious lines (So no death metal or hardcore profanity gangster rap). I did make a rule that no holiday music until December. I didn’t want to start fielding grumpy employees sick of frosty the snowman.
            -Bells… Oh my goodness I had an employee that showed up wearing jingle bells tied to her shoelaces! (At the beginning of December). I told her no. She couldn’t wear them until the last week but if anyone complained about the noise she had to remove them immediately.
            -Hats, we had a no hat rule. Except we had a week where it was stupidly -30 + degrees. To keep with the no hat rule, I ran out and bought warm hats for everyone. Even though they weren’t logo’d and didn’t match, they would be the only officially allowed hats.

            See arbitrary… but also common sense driven.

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s not about being selectively offensive or triggering, it’s about the atmosphere and morale of the company as a whole. Murder is dark and devastating, why would you want that in your breakroom, where people go to rest and relax during the day?

          It’s why you just take advantage of disclaimers or the rating system, let the networks and FCC handle that part.

          1. weak stomach*

            OK, then please give input on CNN. Would you handle that the same way? Or the Hiphop reality shows? I am sincerely wondering if we need to just have the TV off. I know there are people on staff who are Trump supporters and probably do not want to watch CNN.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              If it’s causing a distraction for them or an uncomfortable environment, then change the channel, sure. Measure the impact first and foremost.

            2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              Honestly if I could I’d just turn off all the TVs. I get sick of having these hypnotizing images flashing everywhere, all the time, regardless of what is being shown. Or else I’d just put on cartoons.

              Perhaps you could rotate the programs so that a different genre is being shown every day?

        4. Batgirl*

          I’m seeing a lot of this “where do you draw the line/where will it end” stuff lately when the item on the table is clearly egregious; I kind of get it. If you mark yourself out as an arbitrator, what happens when you suck at the harder, finegrained decisions?
          I honestly think the larger danger is marking yourself out as passive and uninterested in arbitration even when the right call is obvious. Being in charge of a space is a bit like being a host. If you were providing a dining environment, you wouldn’t allow things that were clearly stomach-churning, like bad hygiene or rotted food just because you were not yet sure of all the diners’ personal tastes. You’d just encourage people to speak up after marking yourself out as actively in charge. “Hey everyone, after giving this some thought I don’t think this viewing is for everyone, therefore not suitable for work. I certainly don’t have a strong enough stomach for it for sure. Also, if anyone else is bothered by any TV content do let me know. It’s all for one and one for all around here”.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      I don’t get this! I like True Crime, I guess (I actually enjoy learning about the legal aspects of cases, or the psychology behind the crime, but not the grisly details). I just can’t imagine discussing this stuff at work or foisting it on my coworkers. I have one coworker who I know is also interested in this stuff, but we limit our conversations to suggesting a show to watch; we don’t actually discuss the cases. Nor do we talk in front of other people. Ugh.

  33. Kristine*

    I love true crime too – when the criminals are caught or I think I can help solve the crime. I don’t like true CRIME per se, I love the people who work to solve them (and the people in society who work to prevent crimes and other social ills).
    Joking about a 6-year-old’s rape and murder, seriously? It’s all fun and games until one is a victim of a crime. How do they know no one at this workplace has been? They’re the ones who don’t “get it” because apparently life is not real to them. Please speak up before someone in the workplace is triggered.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Yes, this! I really don’t want to hear the grisly details. I’m more interested in the legal aspects or the psychology behind the crime. I think a lot of people are like us – I never watch Dateline or similar shows because they tend to be sensationalist. I found a few youtubers who have great channels where they do things like analyze the police interrogation and they don’t focus on the gory stuff. And they tend to be very respectful towards the victims instead of only talking about the murderer.

  34. C*

    Are you ever on the phone with customers or vendors or anything else? If they denigrate your concerns, you might be able to get some traction (with their/your boss, if not them) if you spend time on the phone and don’t want to risk customers hearing employees joke about the rape & murder of a 6yo(!!!!!) in the background.

    I like true crime podcasts, but the ones I listen to are generally fairly circumspect about the details and never joke about the victims.

  35. Sharkie*

    I love true crime shows , crime dramas and reading about old cases (especially cold case ones). I went to college to study forensic science. BUT talking about this at work would be very disturbing to me. I get that it creeps people out so I don’t talk about it in public spaces. If someone comes up to me to discuss it I would wonder if they are ok. Some hobbies/interests should stay private.

  36. Turtlewings*

    A lovely approach advocated by Captain Awkward — if they say you’re oversensitive, own it. “Yep, I’m really oversensitive about stuff like that. Thank you for understanding.” If you agree with them (but continue insisting!) it leaves them nowhere to go. Their attempt to shame you backfired, now if they keep it up they look like jerks and they know it.

    1. Sarah*

      YES! This works so well – “Yep, I’m pretty humourless about tragedy. Can’t help it, thanks for understanding.” “Yeah, I am pretty sensitive about this.”

      OP, I cannot believe I have to write this out, but holy cow you deserve to be able to go to work and not hear about murders all day long.

  37. Atlantis*

    Goodness. I understand being interested in those areas, as I work in a field that directly investigates these kinds of incidents. However, even when related details from some really nasty crimes that my professors and contacts in the field have investigated, never once have any of them relished in the details like your coworkers are doing. We don’t even talk about having a “favorite case”. Most interesting, most complex, perhaps, but never favorite. I’m guessing you’re not in a field where investigating murders is an actual part of the job, which makes this even more inappropriate. I hope Alison’s advice helps you, OP, and you can get this shut down. If they continue it, I would agree with others and bring this up with your manager and/or HR. It’s one thing to be annoyed by sports talk or (more recently) Game of Thrones when it’s happening constantly in the office, but discussing real violence in such a manner crosses so many lines, and if your manager or HR are any good, they’ll want to shut this down too. At least then you’ll be able to say that you brought it up with them first.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Most interesting, most complex, perhaps, but never favorite.

      This. I too like crime shows and novels (I’m a horror writer as well), but I would never call the murders I study my “favorites.” I say they’re fascinating, usually because the killer’s psyche is so different than mine that I have such a hard time wrapping my head around his logic or because of how the forensics/investigation piece was handled. The latter is extremely helpful when writing my stories.

      1. Sharkie*

        This. The word favorite makes it sound a little killery. Now I have a case that will always be the most noteworthy to me because I have a personal connection to it but I would never just randomly talk about in casual conversation.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      Word choice like “favorite” versus “complex” is so important! I remember a comment on a letter yesterday that mentioned “Medal of Honor winners” and someone chimed in to note that’s not a great use of language as they “won” some really negative experiences. The better term was “Medal of Honor recipients”.

      Language matters and can definitely affect perception.

      1. Atlantis*

        Agreed. There’s essentially been a revolution in the field of forensics in the last two decades or so just to do with language. Before, people who work in the field tended to use language that conveyed stronger weight to the conclusions they got from the evidence. That, and tied into the growing interest into forensics by the public, meant that juries were heavily weighing the evidence from the scientists even if if it wasn’t really relevant. Now, the whole field is shifting towards more transparent language that doesn’t overstate conclusions (like stopping the use of the word “match”). That causes problems with the lawyers, but that gets off topic so I won’t comment there.

  38. Phoenix*

    True crime is 1000% an opt-in discussion topic – it’s not one that’s safe to just throw around in public and assume that people who’d like to opt out can just tune it out. OP’s coworkers are being really insensitive, and taking the rhetoric of My Favorite Murder to an unhelpful extreme. I’m sorry OP is going through this.

  39. CatOwned*

    Sort of along the same lines – people talking about animal cruelty & deaths. I have no problems telling someone that I don’t want to hear it when this happens (infrequently, fortunately). I would do the same for any other similar topic. Be firm about it!

    1. Mama Bear*

      My husband’s friend is a hunter and we regularly get meat from them. However, that’s as much as I want to know. I do not want or need to know how to butcher a deer or what exact part I am eating or anything like that. We have an agreement in my house not to get into details or joke about hunting (or some other topics) out of respect for the other person. Bottom line, the OP’s coworkers are discussing a topic that makes OP (and likely others) uncomfortable and they need to stop. To shame or judge under the guise of “feminism” is just topping the gore with a big ol’ helping of rude. If it persists after OP is direct, I’d take it up a level as that starts to become a hostile workplace.

      1. Hello!*

        Oh absolutely agree with you. I am new to the office and did not realize she was sensitive about animals since I have seen her eat meat before. All I said was that I was going to go back to my parent’s house for the weekend, she asked if it was for a particular event, to which I responded hunting and she started crying. I didn’t go into the details of how to butcher an animal and such as, frankly, no one needs to know. It was an error on my part to bring up hunting and I apologized profusely the next day to her and told her that I wouldn’t discuss hunting again around her. It is all about showing people respect, not everyone is interested in the same hobbies as you.

        1. Choux*

          It wasn’t an error. Honestly, if she’s eating meat, she shouldn’t be crying over hunting. Cry over the factory farms, maybe, but crying because someone mentions they’re going hunting? Over the top. By all means, don’t mention it around that woman again, but sheesh.

          1. Kiwi*

            Seconded. I’m a vegan and I don’t cry over hunting. It bothers me, but that kind of an emotional response, especially at work, is crazy extreme and not at all anyone’s fault for mentioning their hobby. It’s especially an overreaction if she eats meat or uses animal products in any way.

            1. Hello!*

              I would agree, but I generally find it is best to respect everyone’s reactions to it regardless of if I agree or not. But yes, she does eat meat and animal bi-products. I think for her it is more of a
              “I like to eat the sausage but don’t want to think about how it is made” thing.

            2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I agree with you, Kiwi, but I also give kudos to Hello! for backing off and respecting her colleague’s reaction.

          2. Fortitude Jones*

            I’m glad you said that because I wanted to, but just knew the way I responded would be insensitive to Hello!’s coworker, lol. Over the top indeed.

    2. Kiwi*

      Is she specifically upset about hunting, or meat in general as well? That seems like it would be difficult to navigate if she’s so upset by it she cries at just the word “hunting.”

      1. Hello!*

        She is specifically upset about hunting I would say, since I have seen her eat meat and other animal products before. I mentioned it to one of my coworkers and she generally cries over a lot of animal-related issues, like my other coworker mentioned that a herd of dairy cows got loose in her hometown and she started crying (none of the cows were harmed)

  40. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Ew ew ew wtf, I have always been a true crime fanatic, ever since I was a child because a lot of it stems from my fascination of the psychology and human nature aspects. However there’s a line and that line is talking about a victim in such graphic, demonic ways. You don’t get to just chatter on about a child’s gruesome death, that child deserves more respect than having some “fanatics” discuss the details so awfully.

    I would run this up the management flagpole and inappropriate and have them take care of it because if they are doing their jobs, they will tell them to choose a different topic.

    Who cares if they think you’re oversensitive, they’re vile and opinions stopped counting as soon as they discussed crime like it’s some kind of fantasy fiction.

    1. Emily S.*

      I think if the OP speaks with them directly and they don’t stop, then it would certainly be appropriate to speak with management or HR. Definitely.

      And if they try to say the OP is “overreacting” or something, then it’s time to talk with HR or management. Because NO. That kind of discussion is completely inappropriate at work.

      (I’m the sort of person who simply cannot watch violent TV/films, I’m too sensitive, and that stuff gets in my head. I don’t want to be having nightmares about that stuff, so I have to just avoid it completely.)

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        See, my problem is they’ve spoken poorly already about those who have spoken up about their obsession making them uncomfortable or being inappropriate. They have brought up “We’re women in an ugly world towards women” nonsense as their defense, so that is where I’m all for bypassing being the “adult” and asking first. This needs to just go straight to management, they’ve had peers speak up in some way it sounds like, now they need a boss to tell them to shut the heck up and stop making it an uncomfortable work environment.

  41. HalloweenCat*

    OP, as someone who has had a fascination with true crime and dark humor since childhood, I implore you to speak up! I am known to occasionally bring up details of cases that I find fascinating in conversation but I would ABSOLUTELY want to know if something I was saying was crossing a line for the person I was talking to or if I was making someone this uncomfortable! I know that my interests, though mainstream for the moment, are extremely not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m very careful about who I say this stuff to and the tone I use. I sincerely hope your coworkers can at least muster that level of empathy.

    1. HalloweenCat*

      I want to clarify — I bring up factoids like “BTK wrote terrible poetry” or “John Wayne Gacy owned a bunch of KFC franchises” not grisly details of the crimes or acts themselves

      1. Zombeyonce*

        Thanks for that clarification; I was about to comment that you really should be more circumspect!

  42. Soso (She’s Alright)*

    I’m very interested true crime, and like many other people, sometimes using humor to offset the discomfort of the material helps me to read the material. PRIVATELY. I am really sorry to hear them speaking dismissively to you and others about your discomfort, OP, and I totally agree. They’re being incredibly rude.

  43. Maintaining a Polite Fiction*

    There are a bunch of people in my life who are interested in super dark history, podcasts, etc. For them, it’s interesting and helpful to stare directly at the darkness of the world rather than avoiding it, and I respect that. However, if they tell me too much I will stop being able to sleep and eat properly, so they respect that and stop talking about it when I ask them to. Anyone who won’t stop under those circumstances not only is interested in the subject, they are interested in the fact that it makes you uncomfortable while they can handle it, and that is a HUGE red flag. LW, be very careful around any coworkers who seem to deliberately make you uncomfortable with these stories.

    1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Yeah, I wonder whether this could edge into bullying territory at some point.

  44. Emily S.*

    OP… You have to speak up, this is absolutely inappropriate.

    I think that kind of thing would make me vomit! That is just nasty.

  45. Venus*

    This topic reminds me of the serial murderer who worked at my company a number of years ago. His name still comes up occasionally, usually with a “How many degrees of separation from him were you?!”, but also with a strong dose of “How scary, as he seemed so normal!”

    It also reminds me of statements made about the violence of war. Someone in the military once told me that “Anyone who is excited about war has obviously never experienced it” and I feel the same way about these coworkers. If they truly understood the experience, then they wouldn’t be inclined to discuss it at work.

    That said, I watch ‘true murder’ shows sometimes, as I’m fascinated by the psychology (I am especially curious about anything related to that guy at work, mentioned above), but that seems different than being excited about the details of the crime.

    1. Temperance*

      I really disagree with this point. I’ve been interested in true crime since childhood, lost a relative to an act of violence, and worked with an Innocence Network org. I still research cases on my own, out of pure interest.

      I dislike the moralizing attached to being a crime fan.

      1. Jane*

        For me, there’s a difference between an interest in true crime and the way the coworkers are behaving. I took Venus’s comment as being directed towards the coworkers seeming excited by the cases, rather than just interested.

        1. Venus*

          This is more in line with my thinking – it’s the fact that the coworkers seem excited by specific details of the crime, rather than just interested, and they think that it’s okay to *force others to listen*.

          It was meant more as a comment on experience. Those who understand how it affects them are hopefully not likely to talk about it in such a way that it affects their coworkers. I made the comment about being a crime fan myself, and have no moral issues with it, but it is a moral issue if anyone is forced to listen to it. I have also joked about some pretty morbid experiences with coworkers, but it was done privately as a coping mechanism and I was very conscious of who was within hearing.

      2. VelociraptorAttack*

        I think some people take umbrage at saying you “like” true crime or are a “fan” which really gets into murky word-policing territory. I think it’s also increasingly becoming a gendered thing which I’ll say it, I think leads to a lot of the moralizing, which I also dislike.

        Long story short, I agree with you.

        1. Temperance*

          I definitely think there is a gendered component to it. I’ve always been the weird kid who stays up late to watch Dateline and 20/20, and my interest in true crime reporting has had an impact on my career choice as an adult.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yes, it’s very true that most people who have witnessed true devastation, either war or crime are usually the last to glorify or glamorize it. Unless they severely lack emotional connection to the world, which then leads to people becoming copy-cats or marrying serial killers that are on death row.

    3. Jane*

      I completely agree with this, and I think the war analogy is spot-on. Having worked in a murder-adjacent field, while there was a lot of dark humour, crimes and victims were treated with respect and there was a line – nobody would joke about a horrific case.

      Before going into that field I liked grisly crime novels; now I can’t read them because it’s too close to home.

      My theory is there’s a sort of thrill of fascination from those removed from horrific crimes that can lead to the kind of flippant chat the OP is experiencing (among many other reactions), but the vast majority of those who have been touched by it do not find it exciting in any way.

      1. Venus*

        ‘Flippant’ is such a good descriptor – thanks for that. We can’t know how the OP’s colleagues are talking about this, but I feel that there is an element of respect that is missing if they are dismissive of OP’s concerns.

    4. Fortitude Jones*

      You had a serial murderer working at your company?! Now that’s fascinating… and kind of terrifying to think that Bob from Accounting could have corpses in his closet we don’t know about.

      1. Venus*

        Serial murderers have to work somewhere. When it’s your workplace, and you have no idea, it can be weird to think about in hindsight. A colleague mentioned that he’d been in an elevator with the killer on a Friday, which in hindsight was the day after…

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Omg, that would have freaked me out, lol. Then I would have written about it Ann Rule style.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I used to work at that organization (long after either of them were gone, though there was still staff who had known them both). She violated her confidentiality agreement with the org in several ways and caused the no small amount of trouble, actually. (I got a hefty stink eye for having the book on my desk at one point.)

  46. Exhausted Trope*

    As a person who has experienced violent crime (robbed at gunpoint, mugged, sexually assaulted) this would totally be a triggering for me. If it didn’t stop the very first time I asked, HR would get an earful.
    No one should be subjected to this at work.

  47. Wing Leader*

    I definitely empathize, OP! I have a coworker that loves to come into the break room and announce the most recent, horrific crimes that she heard about. I am also a person that finds the study of crimes and crime scenes fascinating, but there is a time and place for it. Most recently, I had to sit trying to eat my sandwich while hearing about how a father murdered his daughter (like a baby daughter, so it was bad). Makes me feel too sick to even eat, but they happily munch away. I just want to scream at them to shut up.

  48. BadWolf*

    I think it’s fair to ask any non-work office conversation to relocate (or at least use an in cubicle quite voice). Or wait until lunch or break time. Or take a walk. But it sounds like your coworkers are being annoyingly non-self-aware about this. I have coworkers who will start talking about something non-work and then say, “Let’s take a walk, so OP doesn’t have to listen to football chat.” But not everyone is so self aware (Or has somewhere they can walk/take a break to/etc).

    It’s not that you are asking to never talk about the subject, just not to yell between cubicles about it all day (exaggerating, of course).

    People in my hobby group have perhaps unusually strong stomachs and sometimes our discussions are unpleasant for a lighter stomached person. Fortunately, she spoke up, “Hey guys, can we change the subject? I can’t handle this gross stuff” and we try to remember and avoid topics (or too many details) when she is there.

    1. JustaTech*

      Exactly! There are things that I get super squicked out about, so when it comes up in conversation I’ll wait a bit to see if it’s just a brief thing or if they’re going to go on about it, and if they are going to go on about it, I’ll say “hey, I’m super freaked out about talking about eyes, can we not right now?” And, because my coworkers are not awful people, they stop or move away. And I make sure that if anyone ever says something similar to me that I immediately stop talking about whatever it is that upsets them.

      The real problem for the OP is that her coworkers are jerks. If your coworker asks you to not talk about a subject around them because they find it upsetting (and true crime is something that most everyone should expect people to be sensitive to), and you just keep talking about it anyway, then you’re a jerk and a bully.

  49. Likethecity*

    You’re absolutely right to be upset by this and are not overreacting! I admit, I am fairly fascinated by the True Crime genre but guess how many of my coworkers know that…zero. It’s not a work place topic. For me, it’s interesting from a psychological perspective but I make sure to never lose sight of the fact that these are real people and real situations we’re talking about and I steer clear of podcasts and such that glamorize the subject. Your coworkers need to understand that this isn’t a topic for the workplace and acknowledge that it’s not something everyone is going to agree on.

  50. Pipe Organ Guy*

    I’ve never been interested in the True Crime™ types of shows on TV, and I can’t imagine why people would want to discuss that in grisly, gory detail at work. I have my own personal reason, though, for not wanting to deal with any of that at work. Many years ago, my major professor through bachelor’s and master’s degrees was brutally murdered on his way back home after having played in a concert. That murder shook our city, and left many lives scarred.

    With that, I can’t imagine how anyone who works in a morgue or funeral home could stay sane without dark humor (kept out of range of customers, or course!). For that matter, I worked for a while in a cancer center with a group of other people as admin support to physician/professors. It was not a happy place, and altogether too devoid of dark humor to lighten the atmosphere.

  51. Not Today Satan*

    Almost all serial killers were rapists as well, and it really disappoints me how many otherwise sensitive people who wouldn’t lightly talk about rape talk about rapist-murderers so cavalierly. I hate this trend so much.

    I actually read some true crime, but I’d never subject anyone else to the stories.

  52. Anonanon*

    I am a criminal defense lawyer. It is 100% my job to talk about murder, rape, robbery, and assault (the Mount Rushmore of crimes, if you’re a Small Town Murder fan, which I am). because I have to be able to analyze it and speak about it, and argue it, there’s a certain amount of compartmentalizing I have to be able to do. I am very good at my job. If you’re in trouble you want me on your side.

    That said, joking, or speaking flippantly about this stuff is inappropriate, especially if it upsets coworkers. And I’d say warrants going above the coworkers to complain if their response is “you just don’t get us.” If they were talking endlessly and annoyingly about a benign topic, it’d be easier to tune out. LW shouldn’t have to put up with this and should be firm about it.

  53. Candid Candidate*

    Not sure if others have brought this up yet, but I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (this is a real classification, look it up) who also has a hard time with the true crime genre. I can handle it in certain contexts and I respect that it’s a genuine interest to some, but I over-empathize with the victim to the point of crying, feeling phsyically ill, having nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and thinking about the story obsessively for days. It’s like a completely different bodily experience to hear those stories than it is for true crime enthusiasts. Now that I know this about myself and can articulate it better for other people, I can manage it, but I wish people were more respectful and empathetic of each other.

    1. anon4this*

      That sounds more like a disorder, rather than simply having empathy for sympathetic people in pitiable situations.

      1. ket*

        That’s right. It would be useful to look up “highly sensitive person” here, as Candid Candidate mentions, because it’s quite different than “simply having empathy”.

      2. Blue Bird*

        You could say it’s empathy to the point of being disordered, but then again why should we define high empathy as something abnormal and pathological?

        1. Close Bracket*

          Things cross over from being a trait or a quirk into a disorder at the point where they cause the person distress or interfere with normal daily activities. If the amount of empathy a person has causes them distress or interferes with normal daily activities, then yes, it would be considered abnormal or pathological.

      3. Mockingdragon*

        I agree, I think I have at least some HSP traits in conjunction with a mood disorder that makes me feel everything too intensely. It’s not a pleasant thing. I’d rather feel most of my life at a normal level =/ (shrug)

      4. Candid Candidate*

        That’s why I brought it up, anon4this + et al. Some people literally do process this stuff differently, and if anyone reading this thinks they might fall in this category, it might be helpful to learn more about HSP so that you can advocate for yourself better when situations like the OP’s arise. If their coworkers were aware of how deeply this upsets the OP and understood that they process it completely differently, maybe they could act more empathetically and choose not to talk about it in the office.

  54. Czhorat*

    Now I want to open up every workday with a discussion about juggling.

    Favorite nut is cashews, but I don’t have that much to say about them. I just like cashews.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      But what about filberts? And do you call them filberts or hazelnuts?

      I once saw a juggler juggle items that the audience brought. I don’t recall the third item, but one was a package of months-old moldy chicken in a plastic container (which he taped shut), and another item was a bowl of cereal with milk (which was not taped, nor, miraculously, spilled).

    2. Becky*

      When I was a child, it was peanuts, Now as an adult I find straight up peanuts boring. Cashews and pistachios are currently vying for title of favorite.

    3. Dahlia*

      Cashews, but pistaschios are a close fave. As a tumblr post said, “It combines snacking with the repetition of light factory work.”

  55. Jennifer*

    Isn’t GoT as violent as any crime show? I agree that violence has no place in work discussions, so that should include any discussion of any violent tv show, or at least the graphic description of violent scenes.

    1. RandomU...*

      It is, but I think that while fictional violence can be not appropriate, real live violence is a totally different kettle of fish.

      1. Jennifer*

        I really don’t enjoy hearing about graphic violence in general, fictional or otherwise.

        1. RandomU...*

          But as others have mentioned, there is less focus on violence with a GOT discussion and more of a focus on plots and characters. When talking true crime, the focus is going to naturally be on the crime and violence. And for me at least, I know that the “In Memorium” characters that got their faces chewed off in the Walking Dead, where likely to show up as guests 1/2 hour later on the Talking Dead. The victims in true crime stories aren’t going to be fine.

          But if you have coworkers who go into the graphic details of fictional violence, then yeah fair game to ask them to tone it down, stop, or have the conversation elsewhere.

          1. Jennifer*

            That hasn’t been my experience with GOT discussions. I think what I’m not getting through in my comments is that depending on your background, hearing about fictional or actual violence can be equally triggering.

            1. RandomU...*

              And that’s why I said this “But if you have coworkers who go into the graphic details of fictional violence, then yeah fair game to ask them to tone it down, stop, or have the conversation elsewhere.”

    2. Katertot*

      I definitely think details about the graphic sex and violence in TV shows should not be discussed at work. However, there is also a big different between that and talking about real people and real crimes. The fact that these are real make it, in my opinion, much worse than discussing a violent TV show.

      1. Jennifer*

        There is a real-life difference, yes, but many fictional tv shows now have a trigger warning if they are going to show a rape scene because they know it can be triggering for survivors. If someone finds hearing about graphic violence disturbing, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s real or fictional.

        1. Katertot*

          I wasn’t disagreeing that it is inappropriate to discuss these things at work, or in company that is uncomfortable with the topic. It is, and it can be understandably upsetting. I think it’s important though, to differentiate between fictional violence and actual stories of real people with real victims and real families.

          1. Jennifer*

            I understand where you’re coming from. I was just making the point that depending on your history, hearing about either can be equally upsetting.

        2. Batgirl*

          I completely see where you’re coming from. Most people wouldn’t dream of making a rape joke at work even though jokes are generally fictional.

    3. Czhorat*

      So long as they aren’t describing the violent and/or sexual scenes in detail it’s probably fine.

      “I was surprised that Hodor came back from the dead to take the throne” or “I thought there needed to be more car-racing scenes” is acceptable work discussion, even if boring.

      I also think it’s worse talking about real world violence, but I completely agree that using fiction to bring sex and violence into the workplace is NOT ok.

      Now, let me tell you about the poi-spinning patterns I started working on at lunch today……

    4. Temperance*

      It’s probably more violent, as in you’ll see more rape and murder, but it’s also fiction. I’m a Forensic Files fan, and they show crime scene photos but don’t really have reenactments. I imagine FF is harder for some people to watch than GoT just for that reason.

      1. Jennifer*

        I’m the opposite. It sounds weird but I think many true crime shows handle violence way more tastefully than GoT

    5. Samwise*

      From my experience, GOT folks aren’t zestily recounting the gruesome murders and tortures, they’re focusing on plot points, how they feel about various characters, their sadness about the end of the series, that sort of thing.

      1. Jennifer*

        That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve never seen one full episode and I have a strong sense of how violent it is.

  56. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I make murder references and jokes, but that’s mostly because I am a frequent Sims player.

    And I have a habit of making and killing Sims of people who annoy me. Stand in front of the stove and BURN! But if someone asked me to stop, I would. I mean I am already slightly worried some people think I am a murderer if they don’t realize i’m discussing a computer game…

    1. Czhorat*

      I’d gently suggest preemptively stopping, or at least toning it down. Murder jokes can definitely fall on the offensive side of the spectrum for many, many reasonable people. It’s quite likely that you’re making work uncomfortable for someone who is too conflict-averse to call you out on it.

      1. HalloweenCat*

        I second this suggestion. I would be especially careful about who knows about the “habit of making and killing Sims of people who annoy me” as that could be construed as a threat by some people.

        1. Pixx*

          I’ve heard people talk gleefully about all the sick ways they come up with to kill their SIMs, and it makes me intensely uncomfortable and I do not like being around those people.

    2. Asahi Pepsi*

      I’m a fan of The Sims as well and I would never talk about playing it like that if the person I’m talking to wasn’t also a Sims player. This sort of gameplay is only amusing in a VERY specific context and that context is not “workplace chatter.” You’re too likely to run into someone who is uncomfortable with violence, even fictional violence. Don’t talk about it at work.

  57. Typhon Worker Bee*

    Bad advice interlude: every time they start talking about murder, play the South Park “murder p0r n” episode on YouTube at full volume. For bonus points, interrupt their conversations with “muuuuuuuuurrrrrrrder?” line from it.

  58. Argh!*

    Well now I can bore my coworkers with stories about “My Favorite Murder” instead of “Forensic Files!” Thanks, commentariat!

    (I’m not obsessive, though…. and there are many people at work who can’t put a period on a sentence or share the 30 year history of outdated tech, so I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s storytelling!)

  59. NerdyLibraryClerk*

    Honestly, wouldn’t there be a limit to what was work appropriate even if they were discussing fiction? To use the Game of Thrones example, there are things that happen on that show (and in the books) that probably shouldn’t be discussed in great detail at work – because the subject matter is just not work appropriate. (Generally speaking.)

    Graphically discussing real life crimes seems like an extra level of work inappropriateness, though.

  60. This one here*

    One of my sisters was a homicide victim. (Not the kind that makes for podcasts, an attempted robbery gone terribly wrong.) If anyone talks about that s*** around me, I say as much. They shut up.

    Thankfully, most people don’t have that kind of story, and “Don’t talk about that around me” ought to be sufficient.

  61. CommanderBanana*

    I don’t see any reason to approach this any differently than any other coworkers talking about any other subject that you don’t want to hear about at work. If you’re a captive audience, I think it’s 100% fair to ask them to knock it off around you.

  62. JB (not in Houston)*

    CW: animal suffering

    I was once at a work birthday lunch and a coworker started telling us about when her house caught on fire. When she got to the part where she described the sounds her various pets made as the house burned down (she and her family all got out her find, her pets did not), I asked her to stop describing it. She was pretty annoyed. I later heard her say to someone else at the lunch, “I would tell you about it but JB won’t let me talk about it.” I didn’t respond because I didn’t think I could without saying something that would get us all kicked out of The Black-Eyed Pea

    Not everyone enjoys hearing the details of another living thing’s suffering. Not everyone can shrug that off easily. I can understand that not everybody instinctively knows that, but once it’s been pointed out to you, there’s no excuse. OP, please say something to your coworkers. If they can’t understand, that’s on them to deal with. It is entirely reasonable to ask them to stop.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I’m glad I’m not the only person who was horrified by that. I was relieved that I didn’t have to interact with her very often.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      That is horrific. I can’t imagine – I can’t even think about my pets being in danger, much less describing it that way.

  63. Diana*

    This comment section is a mess.

    Yes, AAM is totally correct and this conversation is inappropriate at work for the reasons mentioned.

    That said, it’s completely possible to give that advice without shitting all over My Favorite Murder fans (of which there are obviously legions, it’s one of the most popular true crime podcasts in the world) and making absurd, ill-informed assumptions about their sanity, feminism and empathy. AAM didn’t do this but I had to give up on the comments section halfway through.

    1. Diana*

      And by the way, my own aunt is literally one of the featured serial killers on this show and I have lost someone personally to a grisly murder. And I still enjoy this show and find it soothing and empowering. Let’s stop making assumptions about grief, empathy and care. It’s exactly that spectrum of responses to violence that makes this discussion workplace inappropriate.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Welcome to the internet where people have opinions, especially on an advice column.

        You’re making a scene, dude.

          1. Margaret*


            People are being kind of appalling in here. It’s not making a scene to point out that scarequoting someone’s feminism just because you don’t immediately understand it is rude.

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I think it’s absolutely making a scene to throw a fit about people questioning your favorite show and the way that people in the OP’S office may or may not be referring to it at work. I am perfectly within my rights to question how “feminist” it is to repeatedly bring up a subject in a manner that others find disturbing. And even if the show itself is not any of the things that people in here have questioned, according to the OP the coworkers are treating the subject and specific victims in a very flippant way. How is it a feminist value to force your way of processing disturbing subjects on others in your workplace?

      2. CommanderBanana*


        Also I think it’s interesting that as soon as some cultural phenomenon enjoyed mostly by women comes along, whether it’s true crime or whatever, cue the thinkpieces about how terrible and bad it is.

        1. RandomU...*

          Oh good grief… Do you work with the LW?

          Nobody has said “OMG people who enjoy this are horrible bad no good people. Obviously it must be bad and wrong if women like it. ” People have said “Hmm don’t get it” “Doesn’t seem right to me” and other such things.

          Even people who like the suspected podcasts are saying “Yeah, not cool, take the discussion elsewhere”

          I’m seeing an awful lot of projection about this from some of the posters here. Honestly, the truth is most people in this world don’t care what someone else enjoys, finds fascinating, entertaining, or whatever in their own time. They do care when they are subjected to it and can’t get away. The OP never said a word about the podcast, but did describe the boorish behavior if the coworkers.

          Talking about grisly crimes at work is not appropriate no matter what the source of the topic is’ podcast, morning news, or book.

          1. Arctic*

            “OMG people who enjoy this are horrible bad no good people”

            I hate these podcasts and shows. My sister always make me listen to them if we are in the car together.

            But lots of people in this comment section have said this.

            1. Lissa*

              I don’t think anyone is saying that – I see people who are completely unfamiliar with this genre of podcast appalled at the description of how it sounds, and appalled at the behaviour of the coworkers, but I have not seen anybody say everyone who likes true crime media is horrible, and if there are a couple stray comments like that they are pretty far between. I think the over-defensiveness of fans is coming through pretty strongly here, and pushing back against any criticism of their things, which on one level I get but there is a lot of really interesting, nuanced conversation here IMO. As well as some articles about why these sorts of things can be a problem too – but I don’t see anything calling people awful for listening to a podcast.

              1. Margaret*

                Aaaaand literally the comment right below this one is an example of someone doing exactly that?

                Obviously you couldn’t have seen it, it was posted after yours, but take it as evidence that people aren’t imagining hearing that attitude.

                1. Myrin*

                  Which Lissa completely acknowledges by saying “and if there are a couple stray comments like that they are pretty far between” – just because there’s a comment like this you can point to (or several!) doesn’t make her point invalid.

                  It’s a bit of a problem on this site in general that people see two or three out-of-line comments in a 400-comment-thread and then characterise “half the thread”/”most people here”/”a lot of people” as being in the same spirit as these stray comments. I once had the time and energy to actually pick out the comments which said the thing so many were clamouring was the majority opinion on the topic, and it were three. Literally three comments. I named them and all. And I received honest-to-god backlash to that and people became defensive and said that “it felt like more” and that attitudes like the ones in the stray comments still exist (which is completely beside the point). Well, okay then. I shrugged it off because it started getting ridiculous but it certainly gave me a very interesting perspective into human psyche.

                2. Lissa*

                  Not sure why the question mark is needed after your first sentence, since like you said that comment was posted after my remark. And honestly – yeah, there are like, 3-5 comments that say this kind of thing out of 500. Most of the appalled comments are basing it off the LW’s description of what’s happening in the letter, not “all true crime fans are horrible people.”

                  I think framing is HUGE here. A true crime fan would likely put it totally differently, in a way that wouldn’t get that response – otherwise it wouldn’t be such a huge genre. I’ve been a fan of things like Dirty John myself and find it really interesting, But a lot of things seem normal/reasonable to people who understand the ins and outs, but can be described in a way that sound pretty awful.

                3. Lissa*

                  Myrin, yeah, that is a really interesting psychological phenomenon – I remember first noticing on Facebook when someone posted something, got 30 supportive comments and two kinda unsupportive snarky remark. Cue “Nobody supports me and why do I bother??” I think a lot of people over-interpret negative feelings and positive/neutral ones fade into the background a bit. Which I get, but when it’s actually pointed out like you did it’d be nice for people to realise that. Oh well, nature of the internet I guess but it can be pretty frustrating. Especially when I see people both arguing opposite points each using “my feelings on this are really rare and unpopular”.

            2. Nope nope nope*

              Honestly, I think they’re pretty horrible people if they find that fun. Sorry.

          2. Fortitude Jones*

            Preach. I’m a woman, I listen to true crime podcasts, devour true crime fiction, write and publish horror stories, and I’m still saying OP’s coworkers sound like their enjoyment of this stuff is veering into the sadistic.

            And when did liking true crime anything suddenly become a woman’s thing?

            1. savannnah*

              The demographics of true crime podcast listeners slants heavily female- I think that’s where it came from.

          3. CommanderBanana*

            Apparently you missed my comments downthread when I said that while I’m a fan of the podcast I suspect the LW is writing about, I don’t and wouldn’t talk about it at work, ever, and most of the other fans I know feel the same way.

    2. Lynne879*

      Calling that the murder of a 6 year old is your “favorite” murder isn’t feminism. I don’t know what you would call it, but feminist certainly isn’t it.

    3. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

      There’s a nontrivial difference between “that is not a feminist activity” and “they aren’t feminists.” I enjoy cryptic crosswords–that isn’t particularly feminist, but it doesn’t make me less a feminist, either.

    4. Jennifer*

      I partially agree with you. I don’t get people who think true crime fans are depraved but rave about GoT and The Walking Dead.

        1. Jennifer*

          Pretty condescending. I realize that. I still think being entertained by graphic violence is weird and don’t know why GoT fans think they are superior to people who watch true crime.

          1. Bagpuss*

            Becuase they can distinguish betweenfantasy and reality.

            I get that watching fictional violence can be upsetting or triggering, but they is a huge difference between watching people dressing up and pretending, and being entertained by that, and watching real people getting hurt.

            It’s like going to see Hamlet. You can be netertained because you know that once the curtain goes down, eveyone is going to get off the floor, and Claudius, Gertrude Hamlet and Leartes can all go of and have a drink together. You would not be entertained if in real life, you witnessed 4 people stabbing and poisoning each other.

            Notto mention, for most people, the point isn’t going to be about how exactly Hamlet wounded Leartes, or why it took Hamlet so much longer t odie than any of the othes, from the same poison.

            Getting a kick out of real people’s suffering is totally different to enjying a particualr kind of fiction.

              1. Lissa*

                It makes just as much sense to compare GoT to Hamlet than to true crime, though. It’s all going to elicit different responses in different people.

          2. Lissa*

            I don’t think GoT fans feeling superior to true crime fans is any more of a thing than any fans of media feeling superior to fans of other media. Some people are bothered by it more when it’s real people, and see it as a totally different thing. If you don’t like either GoT or true crime, that’s pretty consistent and reasonable too, and shouldn’t necessarily be characterized as you feeling superior to people who like those things. But I really don’t think it’s at all inconsistent or unreasonable to be entertained by fictional violence and disturbed when it’s real.

          3. Tara R.*

            I don’t understand drawing any kind of comparison between a fictional show and a real crime. The zombies who die in the Walking Dead were not real people. They do not have mothers who cry on their birthday and brothers who have to pack up their clothing and children who have to walk down the aisle without their parent there to see. No family member of a Walking Dead character has ever had to hear the details of their loved one’s final, brutal moments treated as entertainment for the masses.

            Although not all true crime is bad, I do object to a lot of it on the basis that it is disrespectful to the victims and their loved ones. That’s not at all ideologically inconsistent with watching shows that have gory scenes.

    5. animaniactoo*

      The thing is, I have also heard them justify their true crime obsession as a form of feminism, because all of them are women living in a violent and misogynist world. They have also spoken negatively about people who “overreact,” “judge,” and “don’t get it” when they joke about murder.

      I don’t think it’s shitting on people’s feminism when those people are utilizing their feminism as a reason they get to beat other people over the head (metaphorically) with their personal interests. Which is what OP’s co-workers are doing.

      And that very act absolutely makes me question their empathy. Maybe not their sanity – but I’m definitely questioning their empathy if they can’t understand why some people would be squicked out by their jokes.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        So much this. OP’s coworkers are behaving very badly and using feminism as an excuse to do so. That has f**k all to do with the actual content of the podcast that they may or may not be listening to, and saying that the OP has the right to ask them to stop talking about a subject they find disturbing is not the same as saying that everyone who finds true crime interesting is also a bad person. The amount of projection and defensiveness from some commentors is rather odd to me.

    6. Nope nope nope*

      I don’t care how popular it is, it’s just virtual rubbernecking and it’s actually not alright that you think this so called entertainment requires defending.

      1. Lysander*

        Sorry you have the moral nuance of a gnat, I guess. Time to make sure everyone who read The Hot Zone or watched The Terror does penance for their sins!

        1. JustaTech*

          Goodness, I have at least a dozen books about infectious disease that aren’t 100% academic tomes; am I a terrible person? (No, of course not.)

          There is a vast, wide gulf between reading The Great Mortality (about the Black Death) and watching the “bring out your dead” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

          I know this is the Internet, but please, let us find the nuance so we can give some useful advice to the OP.

  64. Jennifer Juniper*

    Time to break out the earbuds and listen to nice articles about cute kittens (or whatever else you like) to drown out all the sickos at your workplace.

    And maybe time to update your resume so you don’t have to work at the Bates Motel anymore, either. Yikes!

  65. Sarah M*

    My hat is truly off to you OP, for your self-control – particularly after the cheerful discussion of the raped and murdered 6-year old. My letter to Allison would be: “After my co-workers gleefully described the rape and murder of a young child in excruciating detail, unfortunately, I lost my proverbial $#@+. I’m told that I unleashed a profanity-laden tirade at the top of my lungs, and threw a stapler at the head of the loudest perpetrator, demanding to know how she liked the sight of her own blood. Apparently, this could be heard several floors down. Any advice on how to salvage my career once I make bail?”

    Seriously, though. I would legit have been triggered by this a million I commend OP for not

    1. Batgirl*

      “demanding to know how she liked the sight of her own blood” LOL.
      That’s how it’s done.

  66. H.Regalis*

    Using feminism to prop up forcing a captive audience to listen to the crap, ugh. I’m sure a sexual assault survivor would love to hear all about the OP’s terrible coworkers’ favorite rape. Who knows? They probably have :/

    Again, like everyone else has said, gallows humor is ok, and can be necessary to not go crazy in some jobs. And humans in general tend to be a bit ghoulish at times. But forcing people to listen to the details of horrible crimes AND trying to blow off other people’s squicky feelings by saying you’re more woke because you salivate over the details of a stranger’s murder and rape? What the actual fuck. I can’t even deal with the other people in my open office talking politics, much less shit like this.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Yes! The fact that not only did OP’s coworkers turn this into an issue of feminism, but now people here in the comments are also saying the OP and people who agree with her that this kind of stuff should not be discussed openly at length in mixed company in the workplace are somehow sexist too, I’m like, “What?!”

    2. pcake*

      I’ve been violently raped, and luckily it never made the news in any way. Because what would make me feel better than knowing a bunch of strangers are talking about what happened to me with ghoulish delight.

      1. Batgirl*

        What a world we live in when instead of sympathy and outrage, and placing a victim’s feelings first, all the unaffected people treat it as something that’s all about THEM.

  67. Dana B.S.*

    Anyone else read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places? Just got reminded of the convention scene in that book. Nope, that type of conversation is just not okay in front of others.

    1. Audiophile*

      Yes, I have enjoyed all her books so far.

      I agree this is definitely a conversation that doesn’t belong in the workplace.

  68. MissDisplaced*

    I find this… really weird.
    Granted, there are times when there are big murder cases in the media: Laci Peterson and OJ come to mind, and EVERYone is talking about those, so they sort of get a pass, as would occasional one-off remarks. But that this seems to be a hobby is odd to me and that more than 1-2 are so fascinated by it or have favorite murders. Yikes! Almost as if they view murder as a sport.
    But then again, there seems to be a whole cable channel devoted to murders and crime so I guess they’re not alone.

  69. FloralsForever*

    I am with you OP!

    I had to ask someone at work to stop talking about that kind of stuff, too! And she wasn’t even talking about the grisly details! Thankfully our manager was right there and supported me when I told her I was uncomfortable. I just said in the moment, “Hey talking about this very real criminal is making me uncomfortable. Can we change the subject?” While it didn’t work perfectly, I think there was a little bit of relief for the people who DON’T like to talk about serial homicides.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I just cannot wrap my mind around people who double-down or decide to get defensive when you ask them to quit talking about something that’s either grossing someone out or just making them uncomfortable.

      Sometimes I need a handler, I admit it. I have a mouth that goes on tangents, so my friends, my mom, my partner, they all have to say “1. Volume. 2. Subject matter is questionable.” and I’m like “Oh whoops. Oh look, puppy!!!” or “Dang it, did it again. Sorry! Can we get tacos for lunch?” Seriously, going through life being naturally antagonistic and defensive seems so awful.

      1. Lissa*

        I think it’s because people often hear judgment in what the other person is saying – to be fair sometimes it IS there, and sometimes it’s not. But I think people hear “you are talking about something upsetting” as “you are a bad person for bringing something upsetting up” so their response is to explain why it’s NOT upsetting and the other person SHOULDN’T be upset (interpret as: I’m not a bad person!) I think that’s where the “you’re too sensitive” thing comes from as well, because they want the disconnect to be “about” the other person being sensitive, not “about” them being insensitive. It’s hard to be value-neutral with contentious topics – it’s easy to be like “oh, you like fish, but I like chicken” and not feel like there’s a moral judgment attached to it but not so when someone’s like “I’m upset by this thing.”

  70. RUKiddingMe*

    Oooo I hate when I arrive 400+ comments in…

    Anyway, I’m having trouble how true crime (which I read/watch religiously) is a feminist issue. I’m a pretty radical feminist and it’s not even close to my first rodeo, so for me to not “get” it is bothering me, a lot.

    Are they saying it is a “feminist issue” because they think that talking about crimes against women somehow empower rather than terrorize women? Are they saying it because they don’t think they should have to talk only about “nice” things? Or are they saying it’s a feminist issue as a means of silencing those who object to listening to graphic violent conversations while trying to work?

    Personally I don’t think repeating stories about how Woman X, Woman Y, or Woman Z were raped, tortured, murdered, etc. is empowering. It only reinforces the fact that (mostly) males** are violent towards women and that women need to be constantly vigilant, that we can’t ever let our guard down… I mean it’s good to know these things happen and to be prepared, but hearing about it, constantly, especially for someone who may have some violence in their history that they have chosen to not tell all and sundry can be traumatizing.

    This is particularly heinous if they have been asked to stop and refused. No one should need to say “I was sexually assaulted in college….my ex used to beat me and once he almost killed me I am lucky to be alive…my cousin was kidnapped and murdered…etc.” in order to make them shut up.

    Absolutely women shouldn’t be restricted to what they can talk about. The very idea that anyone thinks that even thinking that there are female acceptable topics makes me ragey. That doesn’t mean that running roughshod over people who don’t want to hear violent content is “feminist.”

    If they are saying it’s a feminist issue in order to manipulate and/or and coerce unwilling listeners to be subject to hearing violent content without their consent in fact against their consent because hey “feminism!!!” not only is that not feminism but it’s gross and really egregious. Moreover it’s not up the the raconteurs to dictate any given woman’s feminism to her. Each feminist needs to navigate her world as best she can according to her own individual circumstances which makes it all the more indefensible.


    **To be clear: I am not saying most males are violent. I am saying most violence, against all people is perpetrated by males. The vast majority of violence on women (90+++%) is perpetrated by males. Obligatory disclaimer: Yes, yes…I know women do stuff too.

    1. Anonymous Lady*

      *clap* *clap* *clap*
      I’m a survivor of multiple instances of (mental, physical, sexual) violence in my (nice, white, middle class, cover it all up) FAMILY, and there are members who would like to get at me to this day.
      Just reading this post made me pace around practicing the angry speech these women would have gotten from me… say no more.
      I would have given them one very very clear warning (with some graphic details of what I’ve been through).
      After that, I would go to their manager / HR.
      I just can’t stand to even think of working with these conversations pouring into my ears… *rant*.

  71. Anya the Demon*

    I still can’t get over the fact that they’re trying to frame this as feminism somehow. I think that’s the strangest part of all!

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      Honestly, I get the feeling they are saying “feminism!!!” as a manipulation … but, I could be wrong. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. savannnah*

        It comes from the podcast itself, discussing how talking about these issues and brining awareness to the cold cases that aren’t white blonde girls is a feminist lean, as is talking about how the patriarchy makes women doubt their inner voice when they are in danger.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I understand that angle and agree. But it sounds like the coworkers are using this perfectly reasonable and admirable view as a cover for a different kind of conversation.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            This. Ok I get it…sorta, but yeah I think saying “feminism!” Is a manipulation in order that no one can justify telling them to “STFU already.”

  72. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I bought a dear friend of mine a “My, my, my” coffee mug years ago because we’re both so fascinated by Joe Kenda.

    ID tends to do well with keeping their “brand” of True Crime respectful to the memory of the victims and their families.

  73. Kimbimbop*

    I used to be somewhat into true crime, until one of my close relatives became a victim. Once you witness people enjoying hearing or reading about the violent and disgusting acts that took your loved one’s life away, it really takes the wind out of you. This has really changed my perspective on the podcasts and other materials that exploit victims. It doesn’t help anyone avoid their own death. It exploits the victims and their families. One very popular podcast about murder that we all know by name has done very little for charity or victim’s of violent crimes. Imagine this scenario, discussing a violent murder at work and you assume no one around you has experienced anything like that. I can assure you that a victim’s family or friends don’t see the entertainment value. And discussing the details is glorifying the perpetrator, not the innocent.

    1. Temperance*

      So, you are misinformed re: charity and the podcast that you aren’t naming. They regularly donate money to reproductive rights and other important causes, and they have changed the way that we talk about sex workers and other marginalized folks.

  74. Nope nope nope*

    I’ve seen people discussing true crime podcasts on here before and saying “stay safe don’t get murdered” like it’s funny and cute.

    A childhood friend of mine was murdered and I think the people who find this entertaining need to get a life.

  75. Margaret*

    Hey, this has been said, but I’ll chime in to say it again- I’m one of the kinds of people who ABSOLUTELY listen to these kinds of podcasts. There is a new ethic of feminist true crime and controlling the discourse around violence-\- but a big part of being part of that movement is about respecting consent, content warning, and not jamming anything down the throats of people who don’t want to hear it!

    If they’re serious about what their interest and and want to do what they’re doing well, they’ll respect your boundaries! When you find someone else who doesn’t mind talking about that stuff you’re often drawn to talking with them about it, because it’s such a relief- ideally they’d have checked with you in advance to make sure you were okay with it too but it’s possible they heard your original shocked silence as general non-objection. However, consent can always be withdrawn; if someone says ‘hey I’m finding lately that the true crime conversation is getting to me, could we please stick to other subjects’ by the *rules of their own community* they should knock it off right away!

    They might be hypocrites, they might not handle it properly… but I did want you to know that they have zero kind of moral high ground here that should let them expose you to this stuff. The ‘feminist’ tag comes from going back and critiquing police mishandling, complaining about patriarchal and gender based violence, stuff along those lines- not as a way to silence you or for them to say ‘haha we get to talk about this whenever we like to whoever we like in whatever context we want!’

  76. Mel*

    My husband listens to a lot of true crime podcasts and watches a few shows. But, he never listens/watches around me because he knows the details of these show get stuck in my head and stress ms out. I can’t imagine having to be around talk of ot all day long.

  77. Edith*

    Well, for one, the world is both misogynist and misandrist, and it’s probably to high degrees in different ways.

    Anyway, I am a true crime fan myself, but I do not listen to podcasts or any of that stuff. I just read about it. Here is what your coworkers are doing: They are making jokes about murder, rape, etc., in order to make sense of the incongruence in their minds. This is called gallows humor. Many professionals in very stressful careers use this type of humor to get through it. Your coworkers are doing the same, and while they do not actually work in true crime or whatever, they are trying to make sense of why people do these things. It may not *seem* that way from the types of jokes, but human psychology is far more complicated that we may ever know.

    “The phenomenon of using humor in difficult situations was first studied by the psychologist Sigmund Freud centuries ago. He introduced the term, “gallows humor,” which is based on the theory that joking relieves anxiety and laughter can transform unpleasant feelings into ones that are more positive. Indeed, sociologists have pointed to humor as a way for doctors to express a wide array of stressful emotions, including, grief, disappointment, and anger, into ways they find more palatable. A study from the Annals of Emergency Medicine looked at how emergency physicians managed stress, and found that the ability to find humor in everyday experiences was among the most successful strategies to prevent burnout.”

  78. LGC*

    …well, there go my murderino and SSDGM jokes.

    Actually, I think the real issue is that LW is – to use a turn of phrase I haven’t used since like 2007 – harshing her coworkers’ squee. I did a quick scan, and while a lot of the comments I saw flagged the subject matter…the way I’m reading it, it’s really an issue of the letter writer’s coworkers fangirling excessively and being defensive in their fandom. I’d find it nearly as problematic if the podcast in question were Welcome to Night Vale or something.

    That said, I’m in agreement that the squee in this case should be harshed. With prejudice. Fandom is fine (I’m a nerd myself, and I fanboy a podcast that’s…about a workplace, but CERTAINLY NSFW), but especially something that involves topics that can reasonably make people uncomfortable should be treated with extreme discretion in the workplace. And even more innocuous fandoms – like Pokemon, for example – can get overwhelming if people are constantly talking about Deadpool-chu (which is a phrase I did not think would ever exist until last fall, but here we are) and making England jokes.

    All that considered, I’d approach it as if it’s more of a personal preference if I was the LW. I’ll catch some heat for this, I’m sure, but I think it’ll be less adversarial – you’re pointing out that murder is a sensitive topic, not that they’re wrong for feeling empowered by a podcast or the surrounding community. (And if I have the fandom right, that is definitely a viewpoint!)

    Sorry your office is full of fangirls (and fanboys), LW.

    1. Cee*

      I mean, the subject matter is important, and it’s not just personal preference to work in a place where rape and murder isn’t discussed regularly. That’s just a basic expectation for workplace norms (unless they work in a morgue or something, I guess, which it doesn’t sound like the case). OP doesn’t need to pretend this is some silly personal preference that she has, it’s a pretty baseline expectation that you should be able to go to work without hearing the details of rape and murder.

      In the related posts, AAM answers a person asking if they can tell their coworkers who are fans of GoT to stop talking about it, and the answer is no, because there’s nothing inherently wrong with enjoying a fandom. It’s the rape and murder part of this that crosses the line into unacceptability.

      1. LGC*

        I’m in agreement that the subject matter is the concern here – it just read like some people were saying that it was categorically bad for the coworkers to be into true crime. I’m biased since I’ve listened to (and liked) My Favorite Murder, and I’ve enjoyed other crime focused series myself, but I’d feel really resentful if I was told I was messed up and not a feminist for…listening to two women discuss murders in a somewhat lighthearted way while I’m commuting to work.

        To use Game of Thrones, it’s actually similar, I think. GoT is a NOTORIOUSLY violent series (why doesn’t George R. R. Martin use Twitter? They gave him 140 characters, but he killed them all), so going into detail about plot points can be dicey. The guardrails are a fair bit higher with MFM (or something like MDWAP) vs. GoT because it’s harder to discuss them without getting into work inappropriate territory, but I feel like similar standards should be applied.

        Basically…like, I’m fine with being a murderino or a Belinker, and if you’re able to do so in a work appropriate way, tell me your secrets. Just don’t talk about stuff in those pods (or any other media, for that matter) at work that is highly likely to cause other people to be uncomfortable out of context (like sex scenes, violence, etc.).

  79. Bookworm*

    You’ve got my sympathies, OP. I don’t quite have this problem but am baffled why true crime and such podcasts and documentaries are all the rage.

    Not for me either. Good luck to you!!!

  80. S*

    I worked with a guy like this. He was known for constantly making creepy comments. For example if someone said they were going to Wyoming for vacation, his reply would be that’s were all the convicts go to hide from the police. Nice. There ended up being multiple complaints to HR about him and he was passed over for promotions a bunch of times because, well, he was a total creep and everyone knew it. We used to joke we would see him on the news one day for being the next Ted Bundy. Good times.

    1. Edith*

      He probably just was socially awkward and didn’t realize those were not appropriate conversation topics.

  81. Rockin Takin*

    This has nothing to do with feminism. This is like your friend saying “I am uncomfortable watching horror movies” and then forcing them to sit through a very scary horror movie. It’s rude.
    I love true crime podcasts/documentaries/TV shows but I don’t like people who make jokes about it. I’m fascinated by the human aspect of these stories and it’s not something to make fun of.
    I think people blur the line of true crime and fictional crime a lot. They remove themselves so much from the reality of the crimes that they think it’s ok to make uncomfortable jokes about it, but it’s not.
    OP you have every right to speak up and say it’s not cool to talk about at work. O hope these women get over themselves.

    1. animaniactoo*

      To be clear, it’s actually more like going to a new friend’s house, and having them toss on a particularly gory horror movie to the enthusiastic interest of their roommate and the roommate’s friend without ever stopping to check that you’re cool with gory.

      I am way too much of a visual empathic person to be able to watch gore for fun. I can handle the occasional scene as a plot point, but not an overload of continuous scenes. Thrillers, okay. Straight up horror movies, nope. My husband makes fun of me for it*, my kid makes fun of me for it, hell, people have made fun of me for it all my life. My method of dealing with it is to proclaim myself to be a chicken without shame. Bawk bawk. Yup. That’s me. But I also know that I’m not alone – to the extent that I think it’s bad form to just toss it on in a group setting without checking that everybody is up for it.

      *Joke’s on him. Post-surgery, I could change his bandage without a problem for him and deal with the real life wound and bodily fluid leakage. He traded two weeks of dishes with our younger son for kiddo (16 at the time) to take care of changing my bandage.

  82. MatKnifeNinja*


    As someone who can’t watch any gory made up violence (sci fi/war movies/someone getting tortured or just roughed up), with horrible nightmares that last days. Forget true crime stuff.

    Right now there is/was a serial killer in Detroit. That is ALL my coworkers have yaked about. Ages, this that, how found.

    I’ve flat out told them the reason I can’t listen to their discussions. I have a really vivid imagination, and I can’t help what my brain does when I sleep.

    The one concession is they will say, “We’re gonna talk about gore stuff, heads up.” Then I can decide to stay or go. They’ve been on a Ted Bundy kick lately. If it’s court proceedings, meh. They fire up stuff about the victims, I peace out.

    I’m lucky it’s only during lunch, and the heads up works for us. There are 8 of us. The 7 are all true crimes fans. A previous worker did complain, and was told not to sit with them. Lunch is off the clock, and usually off site. People can talk what they want on their own time.

  83. PersephoneUnderground*

    I want to thank the commentors who know these podcasts for explaining this to those of us totally baffled by this letter. I had to read the comments to get my mind around the idea of actually enjoying a show about real crimes! Consensus obviously hasn’t changed, Alison is right, but it helps to know they’re likely not actually psychopaths or what have you, or necessarily doing it to get a rise like the jerk who showed his coworker a snuff film without warning them.

    I’m in the farthest possible camp from this, in that I avoid local news channels because they are heavy on “ambulance chasing” style reporting. It doesn’t make me a more informed person to know a child was hit by a car in the next town and killed, thanks anyway.

    1. PersephoneUnderground*

      Agh, forgot to include this in my comment. It sounds like the approach is sort of “laughing in the dark”, which I can understand. Everyone processes these sorts of things differently. But you shouldn’t be forced to process emotional subjects at work when you’re trying to actually work!

  84. MechanicalPencil*

    I would have Major Problems with this. I don’t ever talk about it because uhhh who does? But my friend was murdered when we were teens — rather brutally raped and murdered. I’ve been the victim of a crime myself. On so many levels, this is, at best, crass. Sure, there’s a level of psychology to crime that is interesting. But having “favorites” is gross and disturbing. And if someone said that my friend’s murderer was their favorite? I’d lose my ish.

    Do what you have to do to put a stop to it because this is disturbing on a multitude of levels.

  85. Scarlet*

    You know what though? That’s a really triggering topic for a lot of people. My SIL was murdered about 10 years ago during a home invasion- if one of my coworkers started talking about murder and going into grizzly details…. oof. It would ruin my day to say the least.

    OP, you should definitely say something! You might have coworkers that are hearing this and don’t feel comfortable speaking up. And if it continues past that, honestly, go to HR – these topics are totally inappropriate for work.

  86. Remote Worker and Dog Lover*

    I had something similar happen in a meeting recently and asking people to change the subject because I was uncomfortable actually worked!

  87. Roxana*

    As a Murderino, I agree that you shouldn’t be forced to listen to those conversations, and those coworkers of yours should have more tact. I discuss true crime exclusively with those I’m confident actually care to hear it. We’ve had this scenario in my office, and the second someone so “Oh no I don’t like to hear about those things” I dropped the subject. It’s basic courtesy, and they should provide that courtesy to you.

    1. Ennigaldi*

      Yup, crime and mayhem were common topics at my family dinner table growing up, and I’ll happily discuss favorite theories on why so and so did what or who might have kidnapped whom, but I had to shut down a coworker who was loudly discussing a disturbing case in our open office. “Bob, that isn’t an appropriate topic” became a routine phrase in that corner of the cubicle farm.

  88. Anon Librarian*

    I would say something to them, and frame it in a non-personal way, as if you could be asking on behalf of someone else. “Hey, it’s great that you all are enjoying this, but could you possibly take that one topic out of the office or talk in a private room? I don’t mean to worry you, but there could be people here who have personal experiences with that kind of thing and could be really upset by it.” Most people would respond well to that if you use the right tone. If you speak up and nothing changes, then it would be fine to say something to management or HR, and suggest that they send out a memo about appropriate workplace conversation and consequences for going into inappropriate territory.

  89. justk*

    This is such an awful problem, I really hope the OP is able to address this with their coworkers and they stop discussing this stuff around you.

  90. ENFP in Texas*

    “You know those are real things that happened to real people, right? It’s really not something to joke about, and I don’t think you’d find them so entertaining if they happened to someone you knew.”

  91. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    I don’t listen to podcasts but I hate to admit how many classy British and gritty American murders I’ve seen–in fiction. I never heard of a murderino before now, but these people sound like sick little puppies, reveling in horrors that happen to real people. I really am shocked. You shouldn’t have to listen to that at work. Good luck with shutting it down.

  92. Pinkie*

    I have a friend whose brother murdered their parents in a grisly and “interesting” way. Once I googled my friend because I didn’t know how to spell his workplace, and the third or fourth result was a cheap paperback about this crime. I’m sure it would be worse now — I don’t want to know. I love a fictional murder mystery with all my heart, but real murders are not entertaining. They’re world-ending.

  93. RickCartland*

    I once had a colleague, “Laura”, who would love to discuss/comment on famous and well-known violent crimes which often lead to discussing in detail the vicious assault or murder (and I mean IN DETAIL!) etc. She was also the sort to talk about ghost stories, supernatural events, aliens etc. Laura was also new the office (< 3 months).

    We wanted her to pack it in because it sometimes verged on the inappropriate in the office and, most importantly, was distracting! It all abruptly stopped when during one of her retellings "Dave" decided to get involved to gross her out. Laura, myself, and Dave all sit near each other in an open-plan office setting. Dave is also a combat veteran. He was more than happy to share a few gory stories on what he experienced and seen whilst deployed the Afghanistan. His most graphic story is describing a marine who stepped on an old Soviet-era anti-personnel mine whilst on patrol. He was able to describe it in amazing detail, and even produce a picture of the below-knee amputated leg. Laura started to look pale.

    What we all knew, but Laura didn't, is Dave was the marine in the story and he has a false leg from the knee down. Dave, like many forces personnel, also possesses a fairly dark sense of humour!

    Unbeknown to all of us, whilst he was sat at his desk telling his "story", he managed to discreetly remove his false leg. He finished his story with "… and the leg looks like THIS now!" and wheeled himself back from the desk, rolled up his trouser leg and showed her the leg!

    Laura had to excuse herself quite quickly to go throw up. She looked like she nearly chundered there and then in the office!

    The rest of the office fell about laughing, Dave is truly a legend. Laura no longer talks about these things anymore.

  94. Sebastian*

    I’m sorry, this sounds like my personal nightmare. I really like Captain Awkward’s advice for situations like this, where you just briskly “agree” with the judgy remarks but focus on getting the behaviour to stop. For example, after asking your co-workers to stop it might go like this:

    Coworker: Ugh! You take it too seriously!

    You: Yup, I am Serious McGee. Please don’t discuss true crime around me.


    Coworker: You’re just not Feminist Enough ™ to get it!

    You. That’s right, I’m only a Level 3 feminist. Please don’t discuss true crime around me.

    Be boring. Be a broken record. You’re not actually agreeing with the jibes at you, you’re just removing them from the equation as another fight to have where – oh look! The focus is on you now to justify your request, and not on them to apologise and stop! When they make fun of you for being uncomfortable, they are trying to deflect away from their bad behaviour.

    Let the personal comments wash over you with minimum resistance, and focus on getting the behaviour to stop. “Victory” in this case is not changing their minds so they think you’re as “cool” as they are, it’s just getting them to stop talking about crime around you. Be strong, you’ve got this.

  95. Database Developer Dude*

    If your co-workers won’t stop talking about murder at work, start pretending to write things down. When they ask you about it, just say “Oh, I’m just taking notes is all…y’all sound experienced, so I figured I’d learn from you”. I guarantee the talk will stop.

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