a man claiming to have an Oscar (he doesn’t) wants to give me advice on my field (that he’s not in)

A reader writes:

I’m an indie filmmaker in the process of hiring an intern to work on my feature-length documentary. I posted the job in some niche industry/women/BIPOC groups I’m in, along with one generic group of job-seekers in my metro area. The latter post prompted someone to message me directly offering to answer any questions about documentary filmmaking because he won the Oscar for best doc 10+ years ago.

I responded by telling him that was great, and asked what he was working on now, and where I could see his work. He responded that he hasn’t worked in the film industry in years and that he’s currently building a [entirely different industry sector] company.

Then he sends me the link to the award-winning doc (he says “my doc” specifically). Credits list him as a production assistant, so I asked his role. He was a production assistant on a small team, he says, working on every aspect of the film, one of the cooler experiences of his life. His LinkedIn bio says “After winning an Academy Award…” he pivoted straight to [current industry]. I ask him what else he’s worked on that I can watch. He says only some surf videos, but focused more on audio production (so not in the film industry beyond this). I gave him a thumbs up.

To conserve my energy and in anticipation of a response that would gaslight me by saying he was just trying to help me, I have not responded to him further. But there is a part of me that wonders if it’s worth pushing back on either of the two most egregious aspects of this interaction: (1) his assertion of “his doc” and the Academy Award that “he won” and (2) that he, a white man, bothered to approach a BIPOC woman employer offering to answer questions about an industry that I’ve been in longer than him, with experience that far surpasses his own.

I see this as a clear-cut racist and sexist microaggression. I’m not asking if I have a right to be offended, but I’m asking if it’s worth pushing back on either of these things and how I could phrase a response. I don’t want to burn bridges in my industry, or in the original job seeking group we’re both a part of. But this happened outside of the group (in private DMs) and he’s not in my industry and hasn’t been for a very long time.

If you are wondering why I bothered responding at all, it’s because he shares a name with a veteran filmmaker who has made films for a distributor I’d like to pitch to eventually, and because the group we both share is very collegial and I wanted to continue that tone outside of the group. Any advice for how to respond?

WTF.

This man, who once worked as a low-level assistant on a movie more than a decade ago, is sending women unsolicited emails telling them that he “won an Oscar”?! And referring to “his” Academy Award?

And he is offering advice about something he has no expertise in to a woman of color who has far more experience in said field than he does?

(Also, you sent me his LinkedIn profile and his experience in anything is … spotty at best.)

I am surprised only because the Oscar detail makes it particularly egregious (and hilarious), but unfortunately this is standard M.O. for a certain breed of un-self-aware dude. “The confidence of a mediocre white man” has become a catchphrase for a reason.

I would love to tell you to take him to task for it — to send back a response explaining that it’s laughably misguided for someone with almost no experience in an industry to offer unsolicited advice to someone who does have experience in that industry, and that a white man doing that to a woman of color is a particularly obnoxious/offensive/tiresome trope.

But sadly, I don’t know that there’s any point. This is the kind of guy who will just turn it around on you for spurning his offer to help and decide that you have a chip on your shoulder.

Even if you sent a gentler version of that response, I don’t think he’d get it. He’s emailing strangers and claiming he personally won an Academy Award. He is not a good investment of time.

Of course, the litmus test for “should I do this?” doesn’t always have to be “will it make any difference?” Sometimes there is value in sending that kind of response simply because it’s warranted. And because it feels good. And because these guys deserve to have this crap called out, instead of getting to remain comfortably in the snug embrace of their delusion because the rest of us figure it’s not worth it.

And I really, really don’t like that you get stuck having to calculate whether there could be blowback against you in your professional community, when clearly he didn’t take one second to contemplate that question for himself.

So … I don’t know. If you’d be responding to teach him a lesson, I’d probably let it go; the lesson will not be learned. If you’d be responding because you think it deserves a response on principle and you’d feel better if you say something, that’s a vote for responding.

(There is also the option of screenshoting it, blocking out his name, and sending it out on social media as an object lesson to others, if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing.)

Addendum: Jennifer/Captain Awkward and I have been talking about letters a lot recently — as seen yesterday as well — and her takes are so spot-on that I cannot help but share them. Her excellent suggestion on this one: “If you’re willing to run the risk that he’s oblivious enough to actually answer you, my strong temptation would be the agonizingly polite sick burn. ‘Oh, how interesting, thank you for clarifying. I must apologize, I initially had you mixed up with [guy with same name], any relation? Since I’m really focused on hiring the right intern right now, maybe can you tell me, was your assistant role on that project an internship or a referral from filmmakers you knew? I’ve never hired an assistant before, what was the hiring process like?’ Just the word ‘assistant’ as many times as possible.”

{ 509 comments… read them below }

  1. Mental Lentil*

    Please ask him to take a picture of “his” Oscar sitting on his mantle and send it to you as confirmation.

        1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

          I believe the statuette you are handed at the ceremony doesn’t have a name, but you get an engraved plaque to put on it later.

          1. KayDeeAye*

            I think so, too. I think I’ve seen photos. A guy I knew won a local Emmy (not quite as cool as a regular Emmy, but still pretty cool), and it’s engraved with his name, and I think it even says what he won it for. Surely an Oscar wouldn’t be any less personalized.

          2. Regina Phalange*

            Yup…they engrave it on the spot and put the plaque on it after you accept the award. (There’s a great video of Regina King having this done when she won a few years ago.)

          3. Felis alwayshungryis*

            I believe that’s to stop leaks about the winners. You get your blank Oscar, you make your speech, you hand it back, they engrave it with your name and award, you put it in the pool room.

            This letter reminds me so much of some blowhards I’ve encountered! At a certain point you have to laugh at the patheticness of it all, when you’ve finished being depressed at how easily some of these people get to cruise through life.

            If it helps, this is probably the peak of that guy’s life. He’ll be like Al Bundy, constantly reliving that one high school football game.

            1. Quickbeam*

              For a while I worked in an agency that had as a side gig investigating false Medal of Honor claims. Some of these men had been lying for so long it was hard for them to separate from the lie. And it’s a Big Lie, whether it’s an Academy Award or taking on a machine gun turret singlehanded.

              1. SawbonzMD*

                That’s fascinating, Quickbeam! What was that like? Are there a good number of people making false Medal of Honor claims? I remember after the Bin Laden raid a sudden uptick in men who were claiming they were/had been SEALS.

                1. KayDeeAye*

                  People – OK, usually men, in my experience – lie about their military service ALL the time, up to and including pretending they were in the Army or the Marine Corps when the closest they’d ever come to boot camp was hearing their cousin talk about his experiences. Exaggerating their military experience is even more common. I’ve never met a pseudo-Medal of Honor winner (WTH?), but I’ve met a number of pseudo-Marines, pseudo-fighter pilots, pseudo-snipers, pseudo-Vietnam vets and pseudo-Seals. It’s very, very silly because they’re almost certainly going to get caught the moment they try this with anybody with actual military experience, but still, they try.

                2. LunaLena*

                  Some people even buy old medals at pawn shops or garage sales and try to pass them off as their own. The Stolen Valor project has quite a few documented cases if you’re interested in reading about them.

                  I think there’s just a special breed of people who think that lying about their resumes is okay because “everyone does it.” They trick themselves into thinking that such lies are justified because “I *could* have done it” or “it was stolen from me” or “I deserve it.” And also “it’s not hurting anyone.” The last one can be seen commonly on Veterans’ Day – lots of restaurants and businesses offer free meals and services to vets and active military, and people try to take advantage of it by claiming military service they don’t have. Many places now require some kind of proof of service (like discharge papers or military ID), but there’s still plenty of people who try.

                3. Sasha*

                  I briefly thought you meant the computer game, and thought “wow, that’s an actual job? That must have kept you busy! Most people I know fib about how fast they finished it”.

          4. Suzanne*

            This is correct. The Oscar received at the ceremony doesn’t have the name and movie on it. It gets added later.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          Doesn’t matter. If it won Best Documentary (Feature) …or short for that matter, the people who get the statues are producers. This guy was a PA. So there’s no point in calling him out on not having a physical statue. He admits to being a PA but is using some rubbish about it being a very small crew. Sure. But you’re not a producer, you aren’t a winner. You worked on an Oscar winning film. He’s not even pretending about it right. Just trying to fudge it so it sounds like he deserves more credit than he actually has.
          I mean yes they do engrave the name and such on it after the ceremony, but if he were genuinely involved in the film he knows he doesn’t have one and is fussing with the definitions of terms.

          1. JustaTech*

            A friend of mine was part of the chorus of an opera that won a Grammy recently. Did she get a Grammy? Of course not.
            But she can get a certificate to say that she was part of a performance that won a Grammy.

            Maybe they have that for the Oscars?

    1. Generic Name*

      I would worry that the guy wouldn’t send a picture of an award statue but would send a picture of him holding is “oscar”. As in a dick pic.

    2. Ciela*

      He probably bought himself a knock off. The design of Grammy’s and Emmy’s are VERY copyrighted, so you don’t find those for sale in US based companies. Now for Oscar, the company that makes the real ones, RS Owens, also makes “achievement figures” which look really darn similar to Oscar. They can be found at many awards retailers. And yeah, we have to be VERY specific when customers call wanting Oscars, that we have “achievement awards” that are in no way associated with the Academy Awards.

    3. Joan Rivers*

      NO CONTACT. You don’t know him and toying w/him could just end badly. He may be just hyping himself but he may be mentally disturbed too. Engaging w/someone like him can just escalate.

  2. CupcakeCounter*

    Please, please, please use Jennifer/Captain Awkward’s suggestion of using the work assistant a million times.

    1. CoveredInBees*

      That’s better than what I had come up with. I thought she should let him know that while she’s busy with X project right now but she’ll get in touch if she ever does something on mansplaining.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I also like the subtle implication of nepotism. (Or taking advantage of having a similar name.)

        1. Bluesboy*

          I can’t wait to see the reaction to it as millions of men worldwide try to explain that actually, that’s not how mansplaining works to the woman director…

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Captain Awkward is genius and I really want OP to use the advice and send a follow-up so we know what happened. Please please please please!!!!!

    3. Insert Clever Name Here*

      She also replied further down in the comments giving some additional advice that is golden.

  3. Wendy*

    Oooh, I LIKE Captain Awkward’s suggestion :-D Politely cutting is an excellent look for situations like these!

  4. Sami*

    So this guy, what, fetched coffee for the assistant to the assistant producer (of which there were many)?
    My eyes are rolling so high I can see my brain.

      1. Jaydee*

        Hey, that’s not fair. He hosted the group project meeting because he had the coolest basement and his parents ordered pizza for the group. That’s not exactly *work* but surely it deserves credit.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      The thing is, he doesn’t need to have been fetching coffee for this story to be infuriating. He could have been a production assistant doing substantive and interesting work – not guiding the overall film but making a meaningful contribution – and it may be legitimate to feel proud of that work.

      But! To go around touting “his Oscar” and “his film” over a decade later, and offering advice to others in the industry based on that experience? It’s so completely out of touch and inappropriate.

      It’s like someone who ran the Nashville field office for the 2008 Obama campaign offering to advise a current Senator running for re-election based on “having run a successful presidential campaign”. Cool experience, you can be proud of it, but it was a long time ago, in a limited capacity, and that six months you spent doing that job doesn’t give you eternal credibility as an expert campaign advisor.

      1. Unfortunately the OP*

        I’m the OP and I didn’t mean to demean the work of PAs. I’ve been one, and my intern will need to be doing some PA work and it’s so so valuable. The fact that he worked on a small team means his role was likely substantive. I believe that this was an amazing experience for him.

        I’m rolling my eyes at everything else he said – but just wanted to clarify that.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Well, if you had his depth of experience, you’d understand how important PAs are…

        2. Jennifer Thneed*

          Please let me assure you that no disparagement of PAs came thru your letter! You were extremely balanced and honestly sound kind. (Commentors here might make fun of “Mr. Oscar Winner” because come on! Mansplaning much? but this commentor, at least, does not think that *you* were doing so.)

          1. Carol the Happy Elf*

            And we’ve all been subjected to people who have “Delusions of Mediocrity”….
            Or worse, “Delusions of Adequacy”.

        3. Guacamole Bob*

          I don’t think you did demean the work! I could just see a thread of that sentiment in the comments section and wanted to point it out.

        4. Mayflower*

          As someone not in the industry, who can claim the award when a film wins an Oscar? I know everyone contributes but there has to be a line somewhere? I doubt a stunt double could claim a Best Actor alongside the winning actor, even if their time on screen were significant.

          1. not that kind of Doctor*

            I’m envisioning a speech where a giddy Oscar-clutching producer tells the team it’s their Oscar, and this guy takes it literally.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              I’m envisioning the team sharing the Oscar. You know, one week in one team member’s house, the next week in another….

              1. Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar*

                I believe, for Best Film, it’s producers only, and I think there’s a limit (three?) that can be submitted. Everyone named gets their own Oscar later on.

                1. Lizzo*

                  …but the Stanley Cup is better than an Oscar because you can actually serve things in it. Like soups and beer. (But maybe not at the same time.)

          2. The Rules are Made Up*

            It depends on what award it is. So Best Picture generally goes to the producers. Not even line producers or executive producers get a statue so PA’s definitely don’t. There are specific crew awards, hair/makeup, costume. editing, set design etc. But it’s not like if a film as a whole wins an Oscar, every crew member gets a statue or credit for winning (like it is for the Superbowl where every body gets a ring). However I encourage my industry friends who worked below the line on shows that win awards to put “Worked on Emmy award winning show “X” because that is still something to be proud of and doesn’t imply that it was YOUR show and YOUR award.

            1. Lizzo*

              I read your username, and my brain automatically followed up with…

              “…and the points don’t matter.”

          3. Artemesia*

            The producer gets the oscar for the picture — no one else can ‘claim it’ although they can all talk about working on — directing, acting in etc an Oscar winning film. Even the director doesn’t ‘win’ the Oscar for best film although s/he can certainly but it on the resume as ‘directed Oscar winning . . .’

            PA not even. He can of course say he was an assistant on an Oscar winning film.

            1. allathian*

              True, they don’t win Best Picture. But they can win their own categories, naturally. There’s just no category for a PA…

        5. AK*

          I agree with the others! It didn’t sound like you wanted to put a PA in their place for the temerity of being proud of their work. It sounded like you were proud of and confident enough in your own work to see the situation for what it is, instead of the fantasy world society has allowed this dipshit to project outwards. It certainly isn’t you that’s coming across as arrogant or like you’re looking down on others.

      2. Lauren19*

        There was a West Wing scene about this! After a Bartlett win some field pollster was going around the network cable shows talking about ‘his’ strategy and ‘his’ counsel to the President. CJ found him and thanked him for his work and said they couldn’t have done it without him. Fully sarcastic and fully awesome.

        1. Yvette*

          I could see proudly telling people that you were a PA on a documentary that one an Oscar, and what an amazing experience it was, because hey, that really is cool. But not acting as though you won it yourself.

      3. Distant Glory*

        “ It’s like someone who ran the Nashville field office for the 2008 Obama campaign offering to advise a current Senator running for re-election based on ‘having run a successful presidential campaign’. Cool experience, you can be proud of it, but it was a long time ago, in a limited capacity, and that six months you spent doing that job doesn’t give you eternal credibility as an expert campaign advisor.”

        …Oooooh boy, this comes SO close to describing a terrible former boss of mine. I think he’s still running off the juice of that claim to this day.

    2. Az*

      Idk what PAs do in movies, but my cousin was a PA in the field of reality television (he is now a producer, so this was in his early career days). They were the ones who would go to the location in advance and set up the challenges. Honestly, it seems like it would be a pretty fun job.

  5. Cat*

    Anyone else waiting for Alison to say, “Ha, gotcha! April Fools’ Day came early this year!”??

    Between this and the sex tape letter…I have no words.

    1. Unfortunately the OP*

      I really really wish! I have spent too many minutes thinking about this encounter.

  6. ratatatcat*

    This may be overly speculative but the first thing I thought of:
    Is there any chance that he actually is related to that veteran filmmaker (ie, he’s the kid of a cousin or something)? Obviously it’s hard to judge without knowing the specific name, but if it’s semi-unique then it’s possibly a family name (and would explain how he got involved in “””his””” documentary). If there is a possible/likely relation, I’d be a little cautious in pushing back and it’s probably best to be as polite/cheerful as possible, even if he deserves a dressing down. (which he 100% does, because he sounds obnoxious as all get out).

    1. Unfortunately the OP*

      Even if he was related – I would never ask to use his connection. I don’t really want anymore to do with him. There are other ways to connect to this particular distributor. Once I realized he wasn’t the veteran, this road dead ended for me.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Honestly, I just assumed you didn’t want to humiliate him until you determined whether he was related to someone you wanted to work with.

    2. nom de plume*

      Or, we could go with what’s WAY more likely and common: random mediocre white dude inserts himself into a process / project that isn’t his to partake in; attempts to mansplain to a woman (50 points) who is also a POC (another 50 points) –> *jackpot*!!

      Frankly, there’s no need for far-fetched explanations. This shit happens all the time, and it’s easily recognizable for what it is.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I’d normally say it’s far fetched except that it’s Hollywood and filmmakers.

        I’d be SO tempted to write to the actual director of that documentary and say “This person X is claiming they won the Oscar for your film”

        1. ArtsNerd*

          It’s not far fetched for any industry, though. This kind of thing happens literally all the time in every field.

  7. Weekend Please*

    Ugh. I highly suspect that if you call him out he will just double down. He absolutely deserves if but if he is delusional enough to think that he won an Oscar for a movie he was an assistant on, there is almost nothing you can do to shake him out of it. Certainly noting that wouldn’t also have the potential to give you a bad reputation for “overreacting”.

  8. SBH*

    It’s a rare thing that I don’t find this to be a sexist/racist micro-issue; I think the dude is just straight-up delusional and would be this way with everyone. Maybe I’m being too kind.

    1. Nanani*

      Mansplaining is real and endemic, I guarantee you LW has seen it before and has a finely tuned radar.

      Even if he is “that way” with everyone, it’s still mansplaining and women, especially women of colour, get more of it. THAT is what makes it racist and sexist, not this one dude’s intent.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        This whole thing reminds me of the time two 60 year olds were trying to hit my friend and I up in a bar by saying they were Hollywood screenwriters. We weren’t anywhere near LA or NYC. We were in a bar in a small town where nobody in Hollywood would ever be. I was thinking, “you honestly think I’m dumb enough to not be able to figure out this is a lie?” Clearly, yes.

        I sadly did not call them out because I was afraid that they might turn out to be stalkers/psychopaths, though.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I was on Chicago years & years ago, & some guy tried to convince us (group of young women) that he was connected. (He had a disagreement with a member of our group.) Ummm… No. People don’t talk about it if they are. You just know.

          1. Steve*

            A bit like how if someone says they are special forces then they aren’t (or if they are wearing the uniform then they probably do their paperwork).

            The people I have met who have truly interesting jobs have found honest yet creative ways to make their work lives seem very boring.

            1. Aldabra*

              I have a very interesting job, and I don’t like to talk about it because I get a barrage of questions (the same questions, usually, word-for-word and in the exact same order)! Also some people have some really ignorant assumptions about it, either positive or negative, and it can be wearing to discuss. Furthermore, some people are opposed to the work I do on a moral basis (not me, obviously, I think my work is crucial and I strive to do it ethically), and I generally don’t want to get into any quagmires.

      2. AK*

        “Even if he is “that way” with everyone, it’s still mansplaining and women, especially women of colour, get more of it. THAT is what makes it racist and sexist, not this one dude’s intent.”

        People often miss that even if that dude is “that dude” to everyone (which, they rarely are, but sure, let’s suppose a unicorn), the effect is still greater on minorities. When they pull that crap on another dude it’s more likely to be seen as obvious bullshit by witnesses. Pull the same thing on a black woman and others are more likely to think it’s the dude who knows what he’s talking about, and that she has something to learn from him. Which will affect in turn how they view her and treat her ( and promote her and believe her). The effect isn’t equal, even in the odd case where the output is.

      3. Worldwalker*

        We’d have to compare how he acts toward different people to determine if he’s “just” a delusional, self-aggrandizing Dunning-Kreuger exemplar or a racist, sexist delusional, self-aggrandizing Dunning-Kreuger exemplar. It would be simpler to just ignore him going forward instead of spending any time trying to determine exactly what variety he is and why. He’s low enough to look up at pregnant worms; that’s all that matters.

    2. ThatGirl*

      He almost certainly feels like he’s qualified to be extra braggy to a woman of color, though. I’m sure she’s seen this enough to know what she’s talking about.

    3. Unfortunately the OP*

      Please trust my account that he would not have done this with a white male employer.

    4. Le Sigh*

      His intent doesn’t matter — his audience matters. When he’s being obnoxious to another white man in the industry, it’s just obnoxious. When he’s being obnoxious to a woman of color, it’s now obnoxious, racist, and sexist.

      1. substiture*

        I’m going to have to disagree with you. If I reprimand an employee for something, just because that employee is a different race than me doesn’t make it racist. If I reprimand an employee for something that I wouldn’t reprimand another employee for because of race, that’s racism. Racism is all about intent.

        1. AK*

          “If I reprimand an employee for something that I wouldn’t reprimand another employee for because of race, that’s racism. Racism is all about intent.”

          See the problem there is you can reprimand an employee for something, or more often for something etc. because of their race …..and not know why you’re doing it. Good intent is really easy to have. Any reasonably intelligent person can find a good story to tell themselves about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Sure, there are are cartoon racists out there who are purposefully being racist, but plenty of us do things subconsciously, without being aware of our motivation or where it comes from. And the key part: it affects the target just the same.

          1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

            Good intent is really easy to have. Any reasonably intelligent person can find a good story to tell themselves about why they’re doing what they’re doing.

            Paraphrasing an actual conversation I’ve had with somebody…

            “So, {race} guy said X to my friend -”
            “Why are you telling me the guy is {race}?”
            “Um. I don’t know. I guess, upon thinking about it, it’s because I’m a natural story teller and so I like to be as descriptive as possible.”
            “But you didn’t tell me what race your friend is.”
            “Oh.”

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              *applause for this!* I have heard that “natural storyteller” line exactly, and funny how said natural storytellers never mention the races of white folks.

              1. 'Tis Me*

                I think this may be because they see being a straight white cis male as the default. Therefore describing somebody as such is unnecessary. By not explicitly telling you the friend falls into a different category, you should know that (as far as your storyteller knows) he falls into that one.

          2. Reba*

            This exactly! This is why people talk about “systemic racism” — it is woven into our everyday lives, often invisibly to those that are not adversely affected by it.

            It’s not just the ugly words or actions those who are avowedly, openly racist and intend to hurt other people. Well-meaning people do racist shit all the time!

        2. Raldeme*

          Racism is bigger than intent. It includes intent, sure, but it goes beyond that. Unconscious biases are still biases.

          1. 'Tis Me*

            If intent was all that mattered “I think [people of a specific group] are inherently inferior to mine. Therefore, [enslaving them/forced sterilisation/colonialism/taking children from their parents and putting them into the foster system and destroying their links to their cultural heritage/taking their national treasures/segregation/other horrible act] is in their best interests and to better society at large because that way they’ll be less of a liability to themselves and others.” would be seen as valid and reasonable and not horrific at all because the person intends well and is maybe just a bit misguided.

            “I didn’t enslave people because I had anything against them; it was purely for economic gain” likewise doesn’t mean that slavery wasn’t racist.

        3. LizM*

          Except, it’s not.

          Asking me to always be the one to take notes “because I have the nicest handwriting” when I also happen to be the only woman is sexist, and has a disparate impact (it’s harder to participate in a meeting when you’re the note taker), whether you’re specifically asking because I’m a woman or you honestly believe I have the nicest handwriting. (And you may ask yourself why nice handwriting is emphasized so much more for women than men in school, or at least was when I was learning handwriting).

        4. Snailing*

          Along with what everyone else has said, a manager/boss has reason to reprimand employees when necessary. This guy is going out of his way to be overbearing – why is his opinion important?

          And then, yeah, what everyone else has said about disparate impact. So even in your example, it doesn’t make a difference. If you have a requirement for all of your employees to have a college degree, sure you’ll knock everyone out of the running who doesn’t have one, but in communities where white folks are more likely to go to college, you’re still perpetuating a racist system.

        5. LutherstadtWittenberg*

          You’re talking about your employees, but you’d be the PA in this scenario.

    5. meyer lemon*

      Nah, this guy is just an object lesson about the dangers of leading an unexamined life. This story is even more ridiculous than the one from the article where the term “mansplaining” was coined. That guy was trying to explain a woman’s own research to her, but at least he wasn’t claiming to have won a Pulitzer prize. I think Oscar Man’s greatest value lies in how easy it is to make fun of him.

    6. Overripe Banana*

      Would him being delusional exclude these actions from being microagressions though? I think an inflated sense of self-importance is pretty common among men like this.

      1. Nanani*

        No, because as many people have by now stated, the aggression stems from the pervasiveness of these actions as constant background radiation for women and especially women of colour.
        Clueless Dude’s intent and cluelessness DOES NOT MATTER. It’s not about him.

      2. Le Sigh*

        Why would being delusional exclude it from being a microaggression? Being delusional might make a person more likely to do something like this, but they’re hardly alone. Plenty of people with normal-sized egos and sense of self do crap like this.

        And why do folks *want* to work this hard to explain why it might or might not be a microaggression? The impact on OP is the same, regardless of someone’s lack of self-awareness.

        You don’t have to be a racist to do something racist. You don’t have to be a sexist to do something sexist. You don’t have to go into something with the explicit intent to racist or sexist. You just have to do the thing that is racist or sexist for it to be racist or sexist.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Nope. I have a mental illness that causes delusions and if I blurt something out that’s incredibly sexist, racist etc. (It’s never happened btw) it would still be a) offensive and b) my fault.

    7. Jennifer Thneed*

      It’s not a micro-issue; OP used the term “micro-aggression”, which has some specific meanings. And honestly? I’d call this one a macro-aggression.

    8. Zephy*

      You don’t have to intend to be racist or sexist to say or do something racist or sexist.

    9. AK*

      Being sexist and racist is being delusional, just because it’s in a way that’s specifically coddled by society doesn’t make it mutually exclusive. OP seems pretty damn level-headed, and no doubt has a lot more experience in dealing with and identifying this sort of thing than many of us do. There’s also a broader tendency here. If someone says another driver was an asshole for cutting them off on the way to work in the morning, we trust their assessment, even though we know there’s a small chance the other driver had good reason/something else was going on – it’s more likely the person we’re talking to knows an asshole when they see one. But if someone belonging to a minority group says “This person was an asshole to me in a way I encounter very often, and know it when I see it” then people start defending the asshole, as though we have to weigh their soul and if there’s the slightest possibility they may not have behaved with full intention exactly as the other person perceived it, then that minority member is just seeing things or misidentifying what happened. It’s bullshit. Intent, as they say, isn’t magic. And odds are the people who have to deal with this stuff regularly know it for what it is.

    10. Elbe*

      The letter mentions that he references winning an Oscar on his LinkedIn profile, so it seem like that particular delusion isn’t directed specifically at the LW. I agree that he doesn’t seem like a particularly well adjusted individual.

      But I still think that there’s plenty of room to consider this a microaggression, considering that he specifically reached out to the LW to offer “advice”. We don’t know if he’s making similar offers of “help” to white male film makers, but I suspect that race and gender played a role in this. And, even if there’s no conscious intent from his end, there’s still a lot to unpack around how the LW is expected to respond and the space that people like this dude take up in the industry.

    11. RunShaker*

      It isn’t rare, it happens to women all the time, especially to women of color. And it’s sad. This man knew what he was doing.

    12. Tenebrae*

      I’m willing to believe this man is delusional but I would also bet a month’s salary that if he’d been contacting a white man, the attitude would be more along the lines of, “Hello, Fellow Important Movie Man, you should involve me in your project because I understand movies the way a professional filmmaker like yourself does.”

  9. Film Star*

    Please, reply acting like he has applied to the internship. Reject him on not having enough recent relevant experience.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      {gasp} I loved the suggestion to use “assistant” as many times as possible, but this is even better.

    2. New Jack Karyn*

      This. This right here.

      “I’m sorry, but you do not meet the requirements of the intern position. Best of luck in your future endeavors.”

    3. Han Ainm*

      Oh my gosh yes! Please do this. Combine the “as many mentions of assistant as possible” and “insufficient experience for the internship” into one cuttingly perfect and polite rejection.

    4. Chilipepper*

      I thought captain awkward’s response was awesome but this is so much more!
      Rejecting him has the benefit that it does not ask for any more “helpful” comments from him.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      This is too perfect. I’m a huge fan of the silent thumbs up when people are this far off the rails but if HE follows up with more bragging or “mentorship” this is the best way to respond for sure.

    6. PersephoneUnderground*

      This. Just this. Because of *course* that’s why he would contact you! And then block him to avoid any risk of wasting further brain space on this (redacted).

    7. Cancel Sharon Osbourne*

      I 1000% agree with Film Star. This is perfect: “Please, reply acting like he has applied to the internship. Reject him on not having enough recent relevant experience.” Don’t bother with any longer response. He’s not worth the energy. And the next time you do standup / drinks out with friends / memoir writing you can include him as a fun racist and sexist story. F this guy.

  10. PT*

    So I’ve worked in a field that has zero prestige, is not at all selective, and is low paid, with crappy benefits, and a low bar to entry, and we still have to deal with delusional nutballs like this.

    It’s usually best to ascertain if they have anything worth your time (hint: they never do) and then get rid of them as fast as possible before they throw the inevitable tantrum that we don’t get paid enough to deal with.

    One memorable one I dealt with was an “expert llama groomer” who did not know the difference between a comb and a scissor, and then called in a bomb threat against our sister barn when we did not hire him.

      1. PT*

        It is better than the guy who was in a mandatory-for-hire certification class, who sent me dozens of multi-page emails before class started, was belligerent and mansplainy during class, and sexually groped someone during a practical portion of class, and still expected to get hired.

  11. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I feel the urge to share my own story of my first and last date with this guy.

    We both worked in DC political communications. He asked me out at a bar so I thought, why not? I was home before happy hour ended because….

    He tried to tell me that he got an open letter published in the Washington Post. I know the Post doesn’t publish open letters so I played dumb and asked him when it ran. He told me that even though the Post agreed to run it, he felt it was too inflammatory toward our political opposition so he pulled it in the end, but he can publish anything he wants in the Post at any time.

    He claimed he got an Emmy award when he was a TV reporter. Like the Primetime kind. (Those don’t exist the way he thinks, but whatever.) He showed me a picture of him sitting next to an Emmy for proof.

    He told me he knew everyone in Senator Harry Reid’s office because he was from that state. A friend of mine worked in the press office. I asked, “Oh then you must know–” “I don’t know them,” he cut me off and changed the subject.

    He told me he was full Italian so I asked him whereabouts because I’d been there and my SIL was from Florence. He told me he wasn’t “actually” Italian as he’d never been there and didn’t know anyone who had been, but he made a “mean fettuccine Alfredo sauce.” (Fettuccine isn’t really Italian food. It was made for American expats.)

    I just remember sitting there, thinking, “We’re in the same industry in the same field. How do you not realize I know you’re full of shit? I literally work with the newspapers and people you keep mentioning.” Anytime I mentioned knowing the same people he name dropped, he kept changing the subject. How dumb does he think I am?

    1. Creative at a Big 4*

      I came to the comments for stories like this. Can we get a collection of ‘The confidence of a mediocre white man’ stories??

      Here’s my favorite: worked with a guy who wanted to transfer to a different department. Listened to a 10 minute monologue on how valuable he is and if the company isn’t careful, he’s going to leave to a competitor. Then he shared that he was currently on a PIP but that didn’t mean anything.

      1. Bernice Clifton*

        Mine happened my first week at my first professional job. I was 21, the youngest person there and I looked young for my age. I was the receptionist at a law office, and a guy and his attorney showed up for an administrative hearing first at the beginning of the day. The attorney that the hearing was with hadn’t arrived yet and I had no clue what to do or what to tell them and the guy asked me, “Is there an adult I can talk to?”

        Turns out the guy showed up on the wrong day.

        1. AntsOnMyTable*

          This makes me think of when I had a doctor come up to me and start asking me about my patient and hospice. I told him I didn’t realize hospice was being consulted for the patient. He started going off about how can I not know this about my patient this is a basic thing and essentially that I am a bad nurse. The doctor then says “he” and I said “the patient in that room is a woman.” He had the wrong room number. Did he apologize? Nope.

      2. Sleepless*

        This isn’t specific to white men, but in veterinary medicine we meet a fair number of people who breed dogs. Some of them are amazing. A lot of them are idiots. A steady stream of them are idiots, but really want to impress us with their amazingness.

        So, keeping in mind that “b*tch” is a legit term for a female dog that is used in dog shows, if I sense I’m dealing with a poser, I use the word b*tch as many times as I can. When was your b*tch in heat? Is this your b*tch’s first litter? Well, as you know, first litter b*tches can run into X or Y problem…

        …and watch them flinch each time I casually say it…

      3. KayDeeAye*

        I have had numerous conversations in which guys who are 5’10”, 5’9″ and even 5’8″ or 5’7″ will tell me to my face “Oh, I’m about 6 feet tall.” I am 5’8″ and also (pre-pandemic) used to routinely wear 3″ heels, and there I am, looking down at them as they say this, and yet they still…think they can get away with it? How, how, how? Or do they think the more often they say it, the sooner it will actually be so? Or do they think I am so dumb I can’t tell the difference between 5’8″ and 6′?

        1. Zephy*

          Mathematically, if you’re rounding to the nearest whole foot, 5’8″ is “about 6 feet.”

          They’re still not fooling anyone, but still.

        2. Sleepless*

          I had a really strange ongoing argument with a friend of a friend in college! He insisted repeatedly that he was 6′ tall. The first couple of times, I said I was skeptical, because I was 5’9″ and this guy and I were clearly the same height. If anything, I was a bit taller than him. He kept this up for months, and finally he got his height measured in a PE class. Final word: he was just under 5’9″. He was absolutely devastated. Went around griping about how disappointing it was. It was just so weird. How does anybody not know what height they are? Where did he get the idea he was 6′ tall?

          1. irene adler*

            I was in, swear to God, 5th grade, when a male classmate I was friends with, insisted he was 6 feet tall. Not, he hoped to grow to be 6 feet tall. Or, his Dad was 6 feet tall and he would most likely take after him in terms of height.

            No. He was six feet in height- right now. Today.

            I pointed out that I was barely 5 feet tall and he was same height as I was. Maybe an inch taller.

            “NOPE. I am six feet tall! My Mom measured me!”

            Starts early, doesn’t it?

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              I am remembering a Square Pegs episode (or it could have been the book) where Johnny Slash reminds Marshall about the time they argued about who was taller. Johnny won, because he could describe how Marshall parted his hair.

          2. Eat My Squirrel*

            To be fair, I (she/her) claimed to be 5’11” for decades, because I actually was 5’11” in high school. Somewhere along the way I shrunk a few inches, and in my early 30’s I finally remeasured and was devastated to discover I was a mere 5’9”. I’m afraid to check today. Pretty sure by the time I’m 80 I’m only going to be 4’2”.

            1. Jaydee*

              My mom did the same to me when I was in high school. Absolutely refused to believe I was taller than she was even though I was visibly a good 2 inches taller. I was 5’6” and change at the doctor’s office, and she was 5’5.5” (the half inch was apparently important enough that I remember it now 20+ years later). Her next doctor’s appointment? Oh…make that more like 5’4”. She hadn’t had any reason to be measured for a few years and didn’t realize she had shrunk a little. At least she believed the doctors even if she refused to believe standing in stocking feet together in front of a mirror.

            2. Artemesia*

              I am 5’8″ and in my late 70s and my husband was 5’10 when I married him and is now my height and yet I haven’t shrunk. Seems weird — no idea why I haven’t — Most people do. Prince Philip was 6 feet at least as a young man and when you see him and the Queen next to the Obamas, they look miniature.

          3. Tenebrae*

            I mean, in his defense, I spent several years referring to myself as 5’4″ until a male friend said, “There’s no way. I’m 5’8″ and you’re almost my height.” We measured and I was a full two inches taller than I’d expected.
            (Men blatantly lying about their heights is still funny, though).

          4. Bluesboy*

            I’m 6 ft 1 (really) and my national ID card lists me as almost two inches shorter – they asked me my height and I messed up the conversion between imperial and metric measurements…

          5. Mme Pince*

            At this point in my mid-30s, I just assume that all men on dating sites are adding 2 inches to their height. I don’t really care how tall men are, but the ones who insist that I must be over 6′ tall because if I’m 5’11”, then they can’t be shorter than me and still 6′ tall. I get measured every year, and I’ve yet to shrink, so this one really mystifies me.

          6. Sydneykapy*

            Hahaha… I’m 5’11” and back in my dating app days would make sure people knew that before we met IRL because sometimes men react badly to finding out they are shorter than me. My now-husband listed his own height as 6′ and to this day insists that I am actually 6′, too, because we are exactly the same height. Measuring tapes, doctors, nope, nothing will shift his belief that he is 6′. Ah, if it keeps him happy.

        3. TastefullyFreckled*

          I’ve had many a first-and-last date with guys whose online dating profile claimed they were 6 feet tall.
          Mine honestly stated I’m 5’10”. Did they seriously think I wouldn’t notice when we met in person? I’m as confused as you are.

        4. Just a Cog in the Machine*

          I am a woman who is 5’9 1/4″. So many men who feel the need to say he’s 5’9″ is 5’7″ (or shorter). Or says he’s actually 5’11” is 5’9″. Then they guess that I’m just under 6′. Nope. (Possibly surprising, I haven’t seen very many men claim to be 6′ when they weren’t. Maybe I only know men who are well under or well over 6′.)

          1. lailaaaaah*

            Oh god, I’ve been there! My ex’s father always insisted he was 5’11 – which he absolutely was not, because I’m 5’9 and I was taller than him by a good inch or two.

        5. The Original K.*

          I’ve gotten that too. I’m a little over 5’8″ and also rock heels (or did, before), and I’ve gone on dates with men I’ve met online who claim 6′ but are looking me dead in the eye when I’m in flats. So not only have they lied about their height, they’ve insulted my intelligence.

          1. starsaphire*

            I had a date with a fellow who insisted I didn’t know my own hair color.

            I mean, sure, I had a little help from Miss Clairol, but there’s a major difference between the shade I was sporting at the time and the “dark brown” he kept claiming it was.

            You bet that one didn’t last long…

          1. Worldwalker*

            You know what they say about why women are bad at estimating sizes: Because our (male) dates keep telling us |—| is eight inches!

        6. Hil*

          My boyfriend genuinely thought he was two inches taller than he is. I have no idea why. He’s still kinda short so he added an inch to that. He was remeasured this year and got really really sad. I had always assumed he was just kinda lying by a lot but thought it would be mean and pointless to call him out.

        7. Roci*

          I think it’s a sad, society-induced self-delusion. Height is a major measure of masculinity for men, it’s still socially acceptable to mock short men, especially in romantic settings. It’s like women listing their weight as 20lbs lighter than it really is–neither measurement actually matters in any way, but it’s part of a self-delusion to believe you are desirable and Good in ways that society values.

          Humans are weird primates.

      4. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

        I once had a MWM with a major confidence excess inform me that carbonated water and sparkling water were different, and that CARBonated water had “added carbs”.

        I had NOT been sufficiently caffeinated for that nonsense, and said something to the effect of “oh holy bleeping $hitballs, you’re actually SERIOUS?!?!”

          1. Worldwalker*

            Well, you know, every single serial killer throughout history — with zero exceptions — has consumed it.
            And it’s been found in the lungs of every drowning victim.
            Drinking a large amount can lead to death from hyponatremia.
            Dangerous stuff, that dihydrogen monoxide.

        1. Jaid*

          I’ve seen something like that on a “Not Always Right” story about a lady angry at her waitress for serving her sparkling water….

          *facepalm*

      5. Collarbone High*

        A customer trapped me for 15 minutes angrily insisting that Mount Rushmore is in North Dakota, not South Dakota, after we’d established that I grew up in South Dakota and he’d never been there.

      6. Mayflower*

        My software engineering team interviewed a MWM once. At some point he claimed that he invented the GIF (especially silly because the GIF has a well-known inventor) and utterly failed to register our eyebrows leaving our faces. At another point he turned to me, the sole woman in the room, and with a great sense benevolence said that he approved of my presence on the team, due to the civilizing influence that women provide. I so wish I had the interview recorded!

        1. Anonymous Nonprofit*

          Wow!

          I read things like this and get even angrier that I’ve ever suffered from imposter syndrome.

        2. Surrounded*

          “ My software engineering team interviewed a MWM once.”
          Just the once? As a female SWE myself, I find that surprising.

      7. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Not work-related, but once I went on an internet date to a Mexican restaurant and the mediocre white man I met explained to me the correct way to eat a burrito. At least I’m not Mexican because then it would have been racist as well as misogynistic.

        1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

          And what, pray tell, is the correct way to eat a burrito?

              1. Slow Gin Lizz*

                I suppose he expected that I wouldn’t know enough without his help to not eat the aluminum foil. Thank goodness he was there to save me!

            1. Elenna*

              I especially love that his “correct way” specifically involved aluminum foil, implying that he’s never had a burrito without aluminum foil on it and therefore that he’s presumably only eaten burritos at fast food places. Which can be delicious, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not exactly where I’d look for traditional correctness…

            2. Leap Year Conspiracy*

              Was it hard not to show sudden concern that he learned not to eat the aluminum foil the hard way?

      8. anonymous 5*

        STEM prof here. Had a part-time professor in our English department try to tell me all the reasons why the science writing course I developed is “inadequate.” Had he seen the syllabus? Nope. Could he tell me why it wasn’t suitable, then? “Because STEM stands for science, technology, engineering *AND math*!” Could he explain what the problem was? “Students in those majors aren’t taking the course!” How exactly would he know that, since he’s not privy to enrollment data? Crickets.

        It was especially hilarious since my top student in the course that semester was…a math major.

        1. Anonymous Nonprofit*

          Ugh, I had professors in college who resembled that guy teaching classes 30 years ago. They are why I had to learn about interesting literature, history, etc., on my own.

      9. ArtsNerd*

        Once one of the Beach Boys mansplained my Macbook Pro to me at the airport.

        I’ve got plenty of stories directly related to my field, but Mike Love and his mac love will forever be the funniest to me.

        1. lailaaaaah*

          The phrase ‘Mike Love and his mac love’ is a thing of beauty just in of itself tbh, let alone that story.

      10. TheAG*

        If I had a dollar for every white dude with a beard telling me how to make beer because said dude has made a homebrew or 3 (and I’ve been in the brewing industry for 20 years) I’d be a rich, rich woman.

      11. lailaaaaah*

        Mine was en route to orchestra rehearsal. A guy at the bus stop saw me with my double bass and proceeded to regale me with everything he knew about ‘cellos’ (which he was convinced my instrument was, despite the fact that the case was bigger than I was), telling me he was in the music industry and could give me a leg up and also, did I know how to play [insert famous violin piece here]? Because he did. He could show me, if I liked. I respectfully declined that offer, and also the offer to book us an Uber together so he could continue to discuss his musical knowledge.

      12. Metadata Janktress*

        Once I had a supervisor who was roundly incompetent at his job. Like, if his superior was someone in our field, he would not have been hired and would be laughed out of the interview. Unfortunately, he also decided that he was full of wisdom and would dispense them non-stop to me, a early professional who clearly needed his guidance. Except the guidance was stuff like “one of things you’ll find hard in our profession is alphabetizing the files correctly.” That’s an actual, not-joking thing he said to me, by the way. Not a vague example.

        There were constant issues with him claiming he knew things and when I would ask genuine, not “gotcha!” questions about processes, he would bluster with “I’m using the highest standards in creating these!” and not answer the question. He never received formal training in some of my job duties like I did, but he kept trying to claim he could do them despite them not remotely working. When it was clear that things actually worked when I started creating/maintaining stuff, he literally said, “I can’t believe it, but you’re better at this than me!”

        However, my absolute favorite was when I asked about how I should label a flat box I had finished creating data for, as I wasn’t sure which side/edge would be facing out. He then explained to me that the box should be laid FLAT and DEMONSTRATED TO ME HOW IT SHOULD LAY FLAT ON A SHELF. Therefore, the label should be IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LID OF THE BOX. I explained that yes, I knew how a flat box was stored and wouldn’t it make sense to label the box on a edge where people could actually see it even if other things were stacked on top? He was not happy.

        I’m so glad I’m out of there.

      13. Florida Fan 15*

        I’m an attorney (white, female) and member of senior management at my agency. Pre-Covid, I had a MWM co-worker sit in my office and explain basic legal concepts, including what jurisdiction means, to me for 20 minutes before his eyes wandered and he noticed my diploma on the wall.

        “Oh, you went to law school?”
        “Yes. Graduated 2002.” [I know he’s been an attorney & employed at our agency for about a minute and a half.]
        “Huh.” [switches gears to explaining a long-standing internal policy]
        Me, after letting him roll for a bit: “That’s very interesting. [pause] I had the same thoughts when I wrote that policy back in 2007.”

        I could have kicked him out of my office (which I have, while he has a cubicle, another thing that should have given him a clue), but by that point I was making bets with myself on just how long he’d go on and how many subjects he’d hit that I know better than him.

        1. Sasha*

          Who exactly did he think you were, if not a senior attorney? Just an over-promoted secretary?

          I’m just baffled.

    2. Anonym*

      That utter lack of situational/self awareness is terrifying to witness. Just a raw, skinless ego lashing out for validation in the most ineffective ways. *shudder*

    3. Lisa*

      Ugh, I used to know a guy (friend of a friend) who “dated the daughter of (famous Japanese film director, you wouldn’t know him)” – so many BS stories of his supposed amazing connections in Japan. Meanwhile, can’t even break into the industry here. He was always telling the most ridiculous stories where he was the hero. Some BS about a break-in and him fighting off a guy with a gun… it was constant.

      One time he was talking about how much running he’d been doing lately, and then casually mentioned his pace and time he had put in on the treadmill. I had gotten into running around that same time, so I did the math and said, “So you’re telling me you ran a marathon this afternoon?” He didn’t back down – yep, that’s what he did. I finally said, you know, you don’t need to lie all the time – he didn’t speak to me the rest of the night, which was great!

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Haha, “You don’t need to lie all the time.” I need to commit this to memory, that’s brilliant!

      2. Third or Nothing!*

        LOL I’d be tempted to start using all the runner lingo and watch the panic build in his eyes.

      3. Clarry*

        I had an ex boyfriend who was a massive mansplainer. I told him my parents separated and he immediately started explaining to me they’d been pressured into getting married too young (they got married in their 30s! My mom had a previous marriage!) when actually my dad had an affair. He mansplained that I shouldn’t be sad at my great-aunt passing away as “a great-aunt is a distant relation”. He jumped in to mansplain why some friends of ours in a couple were having issues “due to being in a long-distance relationship” (actually the man was struggling with addiction)! All of this before I could even finish my sentence about said subject. It was infuriating.

      4. embertine*

        I work with someone like this. So far we have had:
        1) He was the President of his university (that is not a thing here)
        2) He’s a semi-professional opera singer who books gigs near where I live (no)
        3) He is a ranked squash player (I looked up the rankings: no)
        4) He gave up gambling because he was making too much money (come on, dude)
        5) He got into GameStop because he heard a whisper six months ago but had to sell his shares on the Dark Web (thatsnothowanyofthisworks.gif)
        6) He lost 10 stone in three months doing keto, and the doctor told him his blood test results were so amazing he must be superhuman (it may surprise you to know he is not Donald Trump)
        I forget the rest because it’s all so ridiculous.

    4. irene adler*

      My first inclination was to suggest the LW let the guy talk- and call him out each and every time an obvious lie or ignorant statement was made. But clearly, via your experience, doing so doesn’t do a thing towards getting these types to stop the obnoxiousness.

      Better off just ignoring the guy. At least the LW is not dealing with an in-person contact that was made.

    5. The New Wanderer*

      I once dated his cousin, the former Marine sniper. Except, you’d think an ex-sniper would be a better shot (we played one of those toy rifle shooting games at Dave and Buster’s and I won, using the same gun that he did). His stories were totally bogus but to be fair, he was a fun date!

      Oh, and his buddy that I met on a flight, the pro-dirt biker + luxury car salesman. We got to talking (okay, he was talking basically non-stop) and it turned out he happened to have left his wallet with money, cards, and ID behind in one of the luxury cars, and could I possibly help him rent a car to get to his pro-dirt bike event? If he’d let me get a word in edge-wise, he’d have figured out sooner I was a broke grad student so not a great bet for a sucker. He also turned down my suggestions to go to the airport police kiosk to get a copy of his license, which I didn’t even bother to ask how he got on the plane in the first place. Weirdly, I saw him later at the rental place with some other young woman so I guess he got help after all.

      These guys are so common that the one time I did meet an actual TV reporter on a flight, I didn’t believe him. He didn’t have a card on him either so no proof, just a few good stories. Later I went looking on his network and saw him on TV.

    6. Anon on this*

      Posting anonymously because I tell this story IRL (although this type of thing happens so frequently that it probably is not identifying).
      Someone introduced me to a student, Bob, who was working on a professional degree aiming to enter my field. Bob was 4 months into his studies. I am a professional woman in my late-30s. Bob asks where I work and what specific area I am in, so I tell him the name of the place I work and what my role is. I am in a relatively senior position in a highly specialised area in an organisation that is one of the top few in the field both in my location and globally. For someone who wants to do what Bob wants to do, my organisation is exactly the type of place he would want to get hired out of school. I am generally happy to take the time to field questions from students, give advice on applications, etc.
      Bob instead offers to give me advice and tells me that he has a lot of connections in our field (Bob’s father works in an entirely different and unrelated part of the field – llama groomer vs llama midwife) in the location Bob is from, and he could hook me up if I wanted an “in” to work there (this is not a location that is hard to break into). Also, my specialised area, which is not so specialised that I would not expect Bob to gain some knowledge of it in school, is completely irrelevant in that location (think telling a llama midwife you could help her transfer to a job in Antarctica).

      1. Captain Awkward*

        When I was an intern at ABC News in New York, a fellow intern offered up the fact that he had family living just outside Washington, DC he could stay with for free, just in case they needed any “help” “covering” “events” there. My boss, a female producer in her early 30s, was neither impressed nor amused. “What would you ‘cover’?” “Politics!” “Politics…how?” “I could interview people about politics for you, and it wouldn’t cost money, since I can stay for free.” “Thanks, but I think our Washington *bureau* has that handled.”

        This intern dressed in a job-interview level suit every single day, and carried a binder full of “story ideas” with him at all times in case he was invited to pitch. Throughout the summer, one by one, he invited every single other intern in the building to “connect” over lunch, “market test” his pitches, and “share” networking strategies. He could not be trusted to follow simple directions, but he was always ready with a suggestion for how to improve upon whatever he was asked to do!

        Eventually, our immediate boss “invited” him to walk our grandboss’s brand new, un-housetrained puppy several times a day for the rest of the summer, and when he balked at this lowly task, she explained that this was actually the most important role he could have, and since it involved house keys, a sign of how trustworthy he was. This mostly kept him out of her hair, and made him the most enthusiastic and dutiful dogwalker in all of New York City.

        I actually fear Googling him, since he’s probably in charge of the network by now.

        1. Snarkus Aurelius*

          I worked for a government agency, and we were hiring for a legislative director. One guy kept dropping into conservation that he was friends with a married couple who worked together for a federal official. I mean…I knew this couple too as I’d worked with them separately. A lot of people knew these two.

          But this guy kept dropping in the he knew them. One question was, “Describe how you would research and draft a strategic legislative plan for the upcoming session.” He said he would call those two and ask. I asked, “Is that all?” Then he said he’d “Google some stuff.” The whole interview was like that.

          I’d had it with him. At the end of the interview, he told us he knew he was the right candidate and he could solve all these public policy problems.

          Internally, I went bananas. “Oh really? Tell me how you’d solve decades-long problems X and Y. You said you have a plan. Can I read it? Can you send it to me? What’s your funding structure? You don’t have one? Oh so we don’t need to appropriate any money for all the staff you want to hire?”

          I’m paraphrasing, and I was a lot nicer, but you get the gist.

          Dude emailed me for weeks after that.

    7. Indisch Blau*

      A work contact (and former boss) dat in my office last week and told ME what I don’t like about HIM. Which actually wasn’t quite true. Since I didn’t want to get into a discussion of his character I let it go. That is some serious mansplaining.

    8. anon for this*

      We had our automatic sliding doors repaired this week. The guy who repaired them took me aside to explain how they work. Apparently the key is to stand on the black rubber mat to make them open . . . He demonstrated this several times.

      1. TheAG*

        LOL!! Had a dude I work with explain to me how the (very very simple) coffee maker works. The best part of it was my coworker was standing behind him while he was doing it and mouthed “mansplaining” very expressively while he was doing it. Had a really hard time not cracking up.

    9. Keymaster of Gozer*

      The dude who tried to get in my pants at one firm by claiming he’d got 3 phds in virology so he knew much much better than me about anything and it was ok because he transferred to IT just like me!

      Then told me that only ‘real’ ex virologists know that ‘viruses don’t exist, it’s all bacteria’. Just….dude. No.

      (Threw my plush Epstein Barr virus at him)

    10. Bluesboy*

      Forgive me for splitting hairs, but we are REALLY precise about our food in Italy…

      Fettuccine is totally Italian food. We’ve eaten it for centuries. And the forerunner to fettuccine alfredo has been eaten here at least since the 1400s. There is a recipe for it under the name ‘Maccaroni Romaneschi’ in the cookery book ‘Libro de arte coquinaria’, by Martino da Como, published some time between 1456 and 1467.

      It was rediscovered by Alfredo di Leo (which is where the modern name comes from) who ran a restaurant in Rome when he was trying to encourange his heavily pregnant wife to eat something. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks ate it there.

      It IS true that we eat it much less than Americans do, and it is considered basic home cooking – we don’t take it seriously as cuisine. In my house we only cook it when someone has an upset stomach. But please don’t try to tell us it isn’t Italian…

      1. Bluesboy*

        To be clear, the guy you’re talking about is still an idiot. Bragging about making a ‘mean fettuccine Alfredo sauce’ is like bragging that you make a mean Pot Noodle, it’s that simple. My son makes a mean fettuccine Alfredo sauce, and he’s 12…

        1. Liz T*

          My main take was, why call it “fettuccine alfredo sauce?” Isn’t it just “alfredo sauce” and you put it on whatever pasta you want?

    11. CommanderBanana*

      Uuuuuuuuugh yeah I’m also from DC, and when I was attempting to date (I have given up) I went on so many dates with guys like this. Most of them were newish to DC, having come for an advanced degree or a job, and were used to being the smarted person in the room (or thinking they were) and hadn’t yet adjusted to being in a city where most people are the smartest people in the room. Like one who kept talking about his “close relationship” with a high-ranking government official that I knew and worked with personally and knew she wouldn’t have known this guy from Adam.

  12. Steveo*

    Serious question – is there a difference between some idiot bragging/lying on the internet and a “racist and sexist microagression” and if so what’s the line?

    1. Nanani*

      Dudes do this to women, people of colour, and especially women of colour All. The. Time.

      The racism and sexism comes from how pervasive it is. From the assumptions that white dudes automatically know more and are better. From the societal forces in play.

      His intent doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter he’s “just” bragging – it matters that it’s part of a system in which women of colour get their time wasted by jackoffs like that guy.

      Also you know you could just like, read some work by women discussing this phenomenon instead of asking to be spoonfed like a baby bird. Maybe try Captain Awkward.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      When women and people of color are disproportionately — vastly so — on the receiving end of obnoxious behaviors, that will do it. And when the behavior assumes they can’t possibly have the experience and expertise that they actually do, especially when the assumption is coming from someone with clearly way less experience/expertise, that racks up additional points on the board.

      1. Steveo*

        Thanks Alison. There are certainly plenty of people as described above online, especially on LinkedIn and Reddit, but I don’t think I’m on the receiving end very much compared to what you have mentioned.

      2. BrickHouse*

        Removed. Do not dismiss racism here.

        From the commenting rules:

        Letter-writers are experts on their own situations. When a letter-writer reports a situation is giving them bad vibes, particularly in regard to safety, harassment, or discrimination, believe that person. Don’t search for ways to explain away the behavior or pressure them to ignore their instincts because you personally haven’t had the same experiences.

    3. Guacamole Bob*

      So as a woman (despite the username), I find this exact question to be part of what’s so insidious about microaggressions – it’s easy to doubt yourself and question what you’re experiencing. I’ve dealt with it myself – I was reading the behavior of one of our IT people as sexist, and learned over time that he’s actually that patronizing to everyone, and it made me question my own judgment.

      We all know that there are a lot of dudes like this out there who would never act this way to another white man. There’s no way to be 100% sure that this guy is one of them, rather than one of the (also large) number of dudes who act this way to everyone. It’s for sure part of a pattern where people like this guy are more likely to act like this to women and BIPOC than they are to other white men, which is why it feels okay to me to label it as racist/sexist behavior.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I think everyone who fills the role of Not A White Man has walked away from at least one encounter wondering “would he have done that if I were a white man?” But when the most charitable thing you can say about the guy is “maybe he’s a jerk to everyone, and not just to people who are systematically considered beneath him,” it’s still not really saying anything good about him, is it? I think it’s like the zebras and horses analogy. Yes, it could be a zebra. But in a world where arrogant blowhards are much more likely to exert their arrogant blowhardiness over women and BIPOC, it’s probably just another horse.

        1. Steveo*

          This is a good analogy – and a good point – still a jerk no matter if he’s only a jerk to some people or to everyone.

        2. Guacamole Bob*

          This is a really good analogy. And every time someone writes in here with a letter about something racist or sexist, we get commenters asking “well, did a veterinarian certify for you that it was a horse and not a zebra? Certain lighting conditions can make zebras look like horses, you know.”

          And it’s like… it was a horse. And even if by some chance it was a zebra, would it really change things that much? It’s still an animal that wandered by and started grazing in your yard that you have to figure out how to deal with.

        3. Mental Lentil*

          As a biracial person who can (and does, quite easily) pass, yep this. I have seen people noticeably change in their approach to me once they figure out my background. The audacity of the caucasity sometimes!

          1. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

            I just want to say that I love the phrase “the audacity of the caucasity”, and will be adopting it for future use.

        4. Worldwalker*

          I dealt with an arrogant, condescending, apparently sexist jerk on a consulting gig once. When it was done, I told my contact there that my job was made much harder because Fergus was such a male chauvinist. I was told that, actually, he does that to everyone — he’s a just Fergus chauvinist, who thinks he knows more about everything than everyone (including other white males) . Everyone apparently treated him as a source of meaningless background noise, sort of like a human white noise machine.

          For background: This was the mid 90s, and the company was running Netware (in ways that make me facepalm to this day, thinking about it) with some Windows (I think it was Win95, but I may be optimistic) systems talking to the Netware network.

          Fergus decided it would be necessary to show me — the IT consultant called in to get the unholy mess that was the company’s network sorted out — how to rename a file. I kid you not. The mind-blowing part: He performed this task by dragging the file icon from his computer to the shared folder on the server, renaming it there, and dragging it back to his desktop. I was unable to respond in the moment because my eyeballs had rolled so hard that my optic nerves were tied in overhand knots and my jaw was caught in my socks.

          He was apparently moderately good at what he did, but did not have an accurate conception of his own competence, or lack thereof, in anything else. To put it mildly. I dread to think what harm that man could wreak with a screwdriver.

          1. Paulina*

            Maybe Fergus was a Fergus chauvinist. That he could be like that and tolerated rather than fired, however, points to his privilege, and also likely suggests differences in how he presented his know-it-allness to different targets. It’s also a lot harder to tolerate an idiot acting like they can tell you how to do your job when it isn’t a one-off and you’re in an environment where your competence is frequently questioned due to your personal characteristics. So that there was someone like Fergus there, shows significant problems with the workplace no matter what the specifics about Fergus’s bias were.

      2. Cascadia*

        I think the author Ijeoma Oluo of “So you want to talk about race” described microaggressions beautifully when she said that it’s like getting punched in the arm every time it happens. Even though each individual person might say “Oops, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to punch you in the arm!” when it happens repeatedly, over and over again, it doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day, that person has been punched in the arm 30 times, and their arm really hurts. I might not have gotten that summary completely right, but the analogy sticks with me.

        1. Worldwalker*

          I’ve been concerned about the term “microaggression” because the “aggression” part makes it easy for the offender to disregard it. “I wasn’t doing anything aggressive” ends it, for them, without them ever thinking about what actually happened. “Microoffense” might work better. It’s a lot harder for someone to say (even to themselves) that what they said/did wasn’t offensive than that it wasn’t aggressive. They might not do either, of course — I’ve had a lifetime of feeling that drip, drip, drip, water wearing away rock — but at least there’s a chance that someone might look at “wait, I said something offensive, I shouldn’t do that” when they’d dismiss “I wasn’t aggressive, that’s not about me.” And, in the end, isn’t that what we want? For them to *stop*? Hopefully because they’ve looked into themselves and realized what they’re doing is wrong?

          1. Liz T*

            The point is that it’s framed from the perspective of the person experiencing the aggression.

            I know it’s unusual in our society to center BIPOC experiences, but when we’re talking about racism that’s where the emphasis should be, don’t you think?

          2. LutherstadtWittenberg*

            In addition to Liz T’s comment, offenders will dismiss “offense” as often as they dismiss “aggression.” They’re not the focus.

            1. Agent Diane*

              If you phrase it that way then you’ll get an apology framed as “I’m sorry if my comments caused offence” rather than “I’m sorry, I was wrong to [do a thing]”.

      3. Elbe*

        Yes! I know exactly what you mean. The people that I’ve had the most trouble with weren’t particularly kind people in a general sense. They were jerks to everyone, to some degree.

        Even someone who is patronizing to everyone may take it to a higher level with women because a) they’re more likely to be socialized to avoid confrontation b) they’re more likely to suffer negative consequences if they do confront someone c) they’re less likely to hold enough power to force change, etc. “I am doing this because I can” isn’t less sexist than “I’m doing this because I specifically dislike women.” It IS sexism to take advantage of sex-based inequalities.

        Honestly, if I had to do it over again, I’d spend a lot less time trying to figure out why jerks are being jerks. Is someone disproportionately mean to women because they hate women? because they hate people and women are the easiest targets? In most contexts, I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter to the person on the receiving end.

        1. Paulina*

          I’ve had to deal with so many people who excuse being a jackass to women and/or POC by claiming they’re a jackass to everyone. They’re always being a jackass in a more personal way to women and POC, though, hitting already sore wounds that are harder to ignore. And if they didn’t have privilege, they wouldn’t be able to be a jackass at all.

          A few years ago a senior colleague kept insisting on telling a sexist joke in a public forum, at work. He claimed it was ok because he was picking on both men and women. But the ways in which that joke picked on women was a set of stereotypes, every last one of which had at one time or another been used against me to suggest that I shouldn’t be in my very male-dominated field. How it picked on men were not anything like that. And that he wouldn’t listen to me on this was yet another way in which he was definitely sexist.

    4. another_scientist*

      also he wasn’t just claiming outrageous stuff about himself, he was reaching out to OP and offer advice on a subject that she was objectively vastly more qualified in and he was objectively not very experienced at all in. So he acted condescendingly and flat out ignored/dismissed her competence, which likely he would not have done to a white guy.

    5. meyer lemon*

      I mean, not only was he bragging and lying, he was offering unsolicited advice in response to a totally unrelated job posting. That would be patronizing enough in itself, but clearly he made the assumption that the LW couldn’t possibly be more knowledgeable than him, despite his total and absolute lack of expertise and her years of experience. If this isn’t a clear-cut case of a racist and sexist microaggression, I don’t know what is.

      (By the way, I recommend the book You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey if you want to get a sense of how quickly these kinds of microaggressions can add up, or escalate to something more overt.)

      1. Jenni*

        Yes, it’s so great! I love Amber Ruffin in general, and her show on Peacock is really good. This summer she came on Seth Myers’ show and shared a story where she’d been affected by racism EVERY DAY for at least two weeks.

        1. Self Employed*

          I remember that! She’s fantastic. The segment was just infuriating, though, because what is the matter with wypipo that they say this stuff out loud to a person? I am whyt myself and my mother who grew up before WWII in the midwest taught me enough manners to know not to do this.

      2. Arts Akimbo*

        No doubt he expected LW to be so impressed with his minuscule expertise that she would just GIVE him the whole company!

    6. Bernice Clifton*

      A really good example of this that I have noticed personally is in the hobby world more than the professional world. If a woman tells a man that she’s into a stereotypical male hobby like watching/playing sports, gaming, cars, obscure music, or comics the guy doesn’t really believe she knows much about it &/or thinks she’s only into it because of her significant other.

      1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

        I don’t read comics, but I often see retweets of threads where some Mediocre White Man insists a woman knows nothing about a comic and it turns out she actually writes/draws it.

        1. Liz T*

          I once posted on Facebook about my husband buying me a (specific) comic book as a gift, and all these dudes started commenting suggesting comics to me, as though they thought I ONLY knew about comics through dudes.

          My husband bought me a comic *because I like comics.*

      2. Le Sigh*

        See also “oh you like baseball? please name every player on the 1956 Mets (*spoiler, it’s a trick question to trap you!*) to prove you’re not just trying to flirt with me because you can’t possibly be into dude stuff unless it’s because of other dudes and even then I obviously still know more than you, a woman.”

      3. AK*

        Yup. The reactions I get from dudes who find out we have a hobby/interest in common often fall in one of the following categories:
        A) Oh, you’re into that because your boyfriend is/to impress guys.
        B) No you’re not. I’ll ask you questions to test your knowledge so you can prove to me, the person who obviously knows more about this, that you are worthy of my regard (that you haven’t done anything to indicate you give a damn about). But really you’re faking it and I’m going to prove it.
        C) When you say you do X as a hobby, clearly you mean you are just hearing about it for the first time and otherwise no nothing about it. Here, let me give you an overview of the core concepts.

        The stuff these guys assume my husband is an expert on because he mentions them in passing on the other hand is….voluminous. Or not even mentions in passing. They just assume that he knows about comic books and whiskey.

        1. Worldwalker*

          We’re a mixed marriage: I’m the gamer. We are, however, both tool geeks, gearheads, etc.

          This can be put to good use when we’re buying a used car in a private (Craigslist, etc.) sale: My husband talks to the car seller, finds out what the guy *wants* us to know, and keeps him busy. Meanwhile, I’m under the car, in the engine compartment, poking around with a magnet looking for Bondo, etc. Then I give my husband the technical report while the guy who disregarded me and “talked to the man of the house” looks surprised, and sometimes dismayed. Like the one car that was leaking brake fluid *somewhere*. I couldn’t figure out where, which was its own kind of disturbing. Or the “southern car” that “had never been hit” that was more Bondo than metal for the bottom six inches. Things like that. While I’d prefer to be just accepted at face value, when that doesn’t happen, the Q-ship thing has its uses. :)

      4. some dude*

        Male nerd here. While gatekeeping and one-upping are definitely things male nerds do to one another all the time, it doesn’t begin to match what female nerds experience at the hands of male nerds. Comics, music, video grames, you name it.

        1. Worldwalker*

          RPGs.

          The last convention I was at before the Covid shutdown, I’d escaped from my booth to do some schmoozing, check out the rest of the vendor hall, etc. There was a gaming-related booth selling dice, miniatures, etc., and I was checking things out. One of the two youngish guys running it said something condescending, I forget what anymore. But I have a comment ready for people like that: “I was a gamer when you were a sperm.” He was taken aback for a moment, then said “I’m older than I look; I’m almost 30.” I looked him up and down and repeated “I was a gamer when you were a sperm.” And then, I’ll admit, I went all gatekeepery on *him*. Attendance was off, sales had been awful — the shutdowns were already on the horizon — and I was having a bad day at the end of a bad week and the beginning of a bad year. I really shouldn’t have done that. But maybe he learned something.

        2. AK*

          Yup. And don’t get me wrong – I know plenty of wonderful geeky guys. But I also know to expect a certain line of questioning and comments (with a very specific undertone) from men that I meet in geeky social places. It’s not that dudes never have to deal with gatekeeping, assumptions of ignorance and one-upping, it’s that I’m pleasantly surprised when I don’t have to, because it’s been the default for much of my life.

      5. JSPA*

        The number of times I’ve had guys try to teach me hobby or sport-adjacent-activity stuff that I’ve been doing for 40 years…and continue, even if I tell them I learned the technique before they were born (and from whom, and where).

        Or instruct me on a subject that I’ve taught, at the college level, because they read a popular press article about it recently.

        The most irksome phrase: “It was a really excellent article, I’m surprised you didn’t see it.”

        1. allathian*

          Only comeback to that is “nope, I wrote it” or “nope, I taught the person who wrote it”.

      6. kitryan*

        This is also insidious because casual fans/hobbyists exist- and casual fans can become hard core fans but are unlikely to do so when a**hole gatekeeper dudebros make it a misery to get involved in this new fun hobby/fandom, which leads to stagnation (and a disproportionate amount of older white dudes) in a fan/hobby community.
        For every person who can ‘prove’ their ‘credentials’ there’s a dozen who don’t bother and find another hobby.

        1. some dude*

          So much this.

          I’m not discounting the sexism and racism, but in addition to that I think a part of it is also that many of these hobbies become an identity for people who felt rejected by mainstream society, and so the idea of other people liking it is threatening to their identity. That’s how I was as a music snob. If “normal” people liked my obscure music, than what did I have that was “mine”?

        2. EmmaPoet*

          Yep. I have friends who are casual Star Wars fans but every time they feel like getting more involved, they run into the gatekeepers and are just not going to try to push past dudes who demand that you know the name of the key grip in the Clone Wars series before you’re allowed to play in their treehouse (it’s a trick question, because animated series don’t have key grips. No, this wasn’t a real question, but it’s similar enough.)

      7. Jaydee*

        In order to be a *real* fan of X, you must have a score higher than 100 on the RealFandom index. Points can be obtained as follows:

        – Identifying key people, events, or works associated with this fandom: 1 point each (maximum of 20 points)
        – Having attended key events or consumed key works related to this fandom: 2-10 points each depending on rareness and prestige
        – Having acquired certain fandom related memorabilia: 1-7 points each (maximum 20 points)
        – Specific arcane knowledge of things related to the fandom: 5-15 points depending on how big your boobs are or how lush your beard is
        – Being a guy: 70 points
        – Encyclopedic knowledge of both common and arcane things related to the fandom: 15-30 points depending on whether you come off as a bitchy know-it-all or a dedicated superfan

      8. Bluesboy*

        True also in reverse! As a male knitter, entering a yarn shop with my wife is always fun…now she insists “Dude, just tell them you’re the knitter as soon as we go in so they don’t start breaking my balls…”

        (However, in reverse it’s far less damaging. While people still believe that you don’t know what you’re doing they don’t feel threatened and are totally open, respectful, and willing to help. It’s quite pleasant. Plus obviously as a man you don’t have all the other daily microaggressions that women have to put up with, so…it really isn’t a problem).

    7. Sylvan*

      I think one way to tell is to look at context. This guy, for example, started doing his thing when he found a post where OP sought to hire people. Instead of scrolling past that, he thought someone with experience and what sounds like a successful career needed advice.

    8. Elbe*

      I think, generally speaking, it helps to think of microaggressions as something that happens in aggregate. People use the term “microaggression” not to describe how one person is acting like a jerk, but to describe a behavior fits into a broader pattern of how gender- and race-based attitudes.

      You’ll never really know 100% what is in someone heart of hearts, and what their TRUE motivation was, and how they would have behaved if certain factors about the interaction were different. You can drive yourself crazy trying to prove with absolute certainty whether or not one specific instance of someone being a jerk was motivated by race/gender/etc.

      But the fact is that women and POC experience these things much more frequently than other people. People are more likely to assume that they’re not knowledgeable enough to call BS, or they might be relying on social pressure to keep them from calling BS even if they do know.

      I don’t know if this particular person is just delusional as a whole, and if this conversation is representative of his communication with everyone. But I am very confident that this is not the first or the last time that a man will exaggerate his accomplishments in order to position himself above the LW on the career ladder or that a white person will assume that they have more expertise than the LW, even though LinkedIn could prove otherwise. This is something that the LW will have to deal with on an ongoing basis. And that’s why it’s accurate for the LW to consider this a microaggression.

      1. AK*

        Yup. This shit happens all the time. And then we demand the person describing it weighs the offender’s soul, and if there’s even the slightest possibility of doubt then they’re crazy for suggesting consequences ….. or even giving reasonable descriptions for the behaviour. If something looks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck…..are you sure the duck means to be a duck, and that you’re not just crazy and seeing ducks everywhere? What does it matter if that duck bit you if you can’t absolutely prove to me you saw a duck and not another bird. (Ok, ducks aren’t known for biting people…that analogy got away on me a bit. Please everyone fault bigots and not ducks. )

        1. Elbe*

          Yes, exactly. If the only time a person can discuss these issues is when they are 100% certain… then the issues will never be discussed. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

      2. meyer lemon*

        Also, when you deal with this stuff on a regular basis, you just know. You know in a way that gets exhausting to try to defend all the time. Particularly because there is a tendency to assume that marginalized people are less reliable/knowledgeable when it comes to their own marginalization too!

        1. Elbe*

          Yes! This is such an odd dynamic.

          I was having a conversation about this with someone. I asked who is gets more physics equations wrong – me or a physicist? The answer, of course, is the physicist. It’s not because they’re less knowledgeable about the topic (quite the opposite, in fact!) but because I just… don’t even attempt to solve those problems. Those are problems that I don’t have, and don’t feel the need to even consider the problems.

          In their day-to-day lives, women will often have to guess if a particular response is influenced by their gender. Men rarely have to do the same. It stands to reason that even a woman who had really good instincts would still be “wrong” more frequently than a man, simply because of the quantity of evaluations that she’s performing.

          Someone can be an expert in a topic and still not be accurate 100% of the time. Perfection isn’t a standard that we should hold anyone to. The problem isn’t that women and POC aren’t mind readers. The problem is that our society is forcing them to factor gender and race into so many interactions that they have.

          1. meyer lemon*

            And also, sometimes it just isn’t that complicated. You don’t really need to penetrate someone’s heart and mind to know that they’re acting badly in a specific, targeted way, particularly if you’ve experienced that exact same thing many times before. BIPOC people and women and LGBT people and disabled people and basically anyone who has to deal with this stuff are constantly asked to defend really standard, unambiguous forms of interaction just so that more privileged people can avoid understanding how bad and persistent it really is.

            1. Elbe*

              For sure. People really underestimate how frequently a lot of behaviors happen, and how similar these repeated interactions are. So often, people know the patterns like the back of their hand, even if they can’t be 100% certain about the complex factors that cause an individual to behave in that way.

    9. Yorick*

      Talking about “his” Academy Award on his LinkedIn profile is an idiot bragging on the internet. Contacting a woman of color to offer advice is a racist and sexist microaggression.

  13. KayDeeAye*

    To be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s wasn’t this condescending (and delusional) with younger men, too. I mean, he really seems to think he is Mr. Industry Insider – or at least believes he can get others to think so – so I expect he doesn’t confine his self-aggrandizement to women and BIPOCs. He tootles his tiny little horn at anybody he thinks he can bamboozle, I’d guess.

    How he thinks he can bamboozle anybody when it’s this easy to prove him wrong is probably one of those little mysteries we will never know the answer to.

    1. Nanani*

      You actually don’t need to be fair to him.

      It’s racist and sexist because women of colour get mansplained at more. Doesn’t matter if he’d say the same thign to a man. Racism and sexism aren’t about his intent.

      1. Chc34*

        Yep. Took less than half an hour for a “well actually it’s not about gender or race”

      2. KayDeeAye*

        Of course it’s about gender and race – this guy probably targets anyone he thinks might be less…I don’t know…connected? Knowledgeable? And no doubt race, gender and age are the criteria he uses. And I wouldn’t blame the OP for feeling insulted. I would be. I would be like, “How stupid does he think I am?”

        1. shhhhimhiding*

          This is actually a great way of summing it up, yes racist and misogynistic patronizers may have criteria for being jerks to some white men, but a huge bulk of their criteria for who they target often make it clear they don’t think less of everyone equally.

      3. AK*

        Like, why as a society are we all so worried about being fair to assholes? Why aren’t we worried about being fair to the people who deal with the consequences of their behaviour? And why is it that when we talk about “being fair” to assholes, “being fair” is somehow redefined to mean “seeing their actions in the best possible light, regardless of how unlikely we know that to be”?.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          I actually didn’t mean “to be fair” to refer to Super Doc Man, though I can definitely see that it could be taken that way. I was looking at the situation, not the specific twit in question. Sorry for being so unclear. I actually don’t believe there is any “best possible light” here. Even if he doesn’t exclusively target women, POCs, etc., those factors are definitely part of his calculation.

    2. Aloicious Mergatroid*

      I know a guy that did win an Academy Award, but one of the ones that came with the certificate from the Academy, but not the statuette. He was a special effects guy, so he borrowed the Oscar that a friend of his had won, took a mold, cast his own, got it gold plated, and has it one display in his office, right next to his certificate, and the group photo of that year’s winners, which he’s in. I mean, this guy’s not lying when he says he won an Academy Award, but he definitely cannot say “I won an Oscar!”

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Aw, I didn’t know some of the winners don’t get statuettes. I don’t blame him for making his own.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          I’ll bet it’s only the ones that get televised. There are lots of awards for technical skills that the viewing public don’t understand or can’t appreciate. It’s like the technical skills contests for Olympic sports – they get scored but they’re boring to the television public.

          1. Artemesia*

            I’m horrified that they don’t get Oscars if they win academy awards in their category.

            1. sacados*

              It’s a different category of awards — the “merit awards” which are the ones that usually get televised and which come with The Statuette, and the “technical achievement” ones that are a certificate.
              The Emmys are the same way — there’s usually two separate ceremonies, and the non-televised one is where you will find all the awards for “Best Sound Mixing in a Half-Hour Comedy” etc etc.

    3. Emma2*

      The micro aggression comes from the fact that he assumes that, despite OPs’ greater experience in the industry, he can bamboozle her (or assumes she lacks competence) because she is a woman and a person of colour. He may well roll out the same story with a younger man, but there is a big difference between say offering a new graduate tips on breaking into an industry and offering a professional with more experience than you tips for breaking into their own industry. In the first case, you may actually be doing something nice and in any event you at least have a reasonable basis for thinking you might know more than the other person. In the second case, for some reason you are assuming the other person could not possibly be as competent as you despite evidence to the contrary.

  14. Batgirl*

    “Are you offering to consult for many filmmakers right now, or just the ones who look like me?”

  15. CurrentlyBill*

    “Ooh. Bless your heart. That could be helpful. I’ll definitely seek your advice the next time I aspire to be an assistant in 2010. For now, in 2021, I think I’ll just keep producing and directing my own films.”

  16. Rusty Shackelford*

    Ironically, “after working on an Academy award-winning documentary” would be cool enough. And true. But no, that wasn’t enough for this guy.

    1. NYWeasel*

      People lying about the extent of their contributions in the film industry is an ongoing issue. I worked in NYC for a number of years on some high profile stuff, and when I moved away to the boonies, I’ve come across this one guy who tells everyone how he worked on the same production as me. He literally did some uncredited scut work (maybe 8-10 hours of work) for someone who was feeling lazy and paid out of pocket for the help. Not the same thing as what the crew was doing over a period of years, but I’ve seen him say in interviews that he was staff on our project.

      Meanwhile, I was just visiting my IMDB out of curiosity, and it’s still a train wreck of incorrect information. I’m not listed for the job I held for 2+ years, but they guy who filled in for 8 weeks while I was on maternity leave is listed as having it. Things like that, which would be a huge issue if I still was in the industry. I’ve tried in the past to get mistakes corrected and add missing projects, but the lack of success made me give up. The combination of poor documentation and people feeling entitled to overstate their contributions makes it easy for asses like the OP is dealing with to flourish and prosper.

  17. Ana Gram*

    I currently have an application from a man who claims to have 2 masters degrees, a PhD, a seminary degree, a JD, and an MD. I’m just a hair suspicious because his medical school, excuse me “medical school”, has a dot com website and is blocked on my work computer. He’s also the bishop of a nearby town… Oh and he worked full time during all of this. And served in the military. Sigh.

    1. Lady Heather*

      Reminds me of this one:

      A lawyer died and arrived at the pearly gates. To his dismay, there were thousands of people ahead of him in line to see St. Peter.

      To his surprise, St. Peter left his desk at the gate and came down the long line to where the lawyer was, and greeted him warmly.

      Then St. Peter and one of his assistants took the lawyer by the hands and guided him up to the front of the line, and into a comfortable chair by his desk.

      The lawyer said, “I don’t mind all this attention, but what makes me so special?”

      St. Peter replied, “Well, I’ve added up all the hours for which you billed your clients, and by my calculation you must be about 193 years old!”

      (Original source: unknown)

      1. Self Employed*

        Same thing for auto mechanics who use flat rate books but can work WAY faster than “book”.

    2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      If it’s a programming job, he’s probably still not qualified for it.

    3. irene adler*

      Can’t wait to hear his response to the rejection letter.
      Cuz you know there’s going to be one.

    4. Aggretsuko*

      That is officially what, all the degrees offered in the world there? I’ve never seen anyone have more than four before at max.

      1. metadata minion*

        I’ve seen multiple professional masters degrees, usually in areas like public health or business. But these are the sort of degrees that it’s very normal to get while working full-time, usually even paid for by your employer, and it’s just a known thing in those industries that your full list of degrees starts looking kind of silly after a while.

      2. pope suburban*

        I had a professor for a medical ethics class in college who had his J.D. and a Ph.D., in addition to being a practicing physician. The class was amazing, and I still remember the way he held himself up as an example of what *not* to do in life, as his work habits that enabled these achievements were not healthy. So yeah, I’d be big-time skeptical of someone claiming to have done all that and more, while fixing the kitchen sink.

        1. Sasha*

          Having numerous degrees is believable (and completely normal in some fields – you aren’t appointable as a physician in my area without a PhD as well as your medical degree, and that often involves getting an MSc in either stats or clinical trials management along the way. Many people also have post-grad certificates in education or management as well).

          The thing is, unless you were looking at my CV, you would never know any of that. I certainly don’t put all of those letters after my name, it would look ridiculous. I also don’t put it in my bio at conferences, or anywhere else in the public domain. It would be like boasting about having a driving licence – yes it was exciting to get my licence when I was 17, but thirty years later, it is just assumed that I have one.

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Ana Gram, is one of his masters degrees in music? Because if so I went to grad school with that guy.

    6. Elizabeth Bennett*

      A shining example of why a resume should be tailored to the application and not an exhaustive history of your career since junior high. :D

    7. Heidi*

      There was a guy who was invited to our high school to talk about his military experience. He claimed to be an Army Ranger, a Navy SEAL, and a Green Beret. My social studies teacher called him out on it. It ended up being a story in the local paper.

      1. Weekend Please*

        And yet also probably the most annoying one to the “Oscar winner.” This type of guy does not like being ignored. He wants to feel important and be the center of attention. Being argued with means that you are focusing on him. It implies that you care enough to try to prove him wrong. Ignoring him means he isn’t even worth that.

        1. Smithy*

          This is the worst part – that there’s this need for attention and oxygen. I used to work for a small human rights nonprofit with a very limited public profile, but certainly working on an issue that attracted counterpoints.

          When we were looking to refill my position, and one candidate had an application that was just clearly against the mission of the organization. The standard “thank you for applying, we’re moving forward with other applicants” email was sent – and the multiple emails we received in response just made it clear he was itching for the fight. It was an argument he managed to sustain with the one form email for a few weeks….had he ever received a more substantive response, I just can’t even imagine.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          This, exactly. Letting him suck you into a discussion/argument means he gets to waste your time and energy *and* he gets attention.

          Yes, it’s unsatisfying, but engaging isn’t fair to yourself, and you’re not going to “win” with people like this, anyway. The answer will always be a moving target.

    1. Batgirl*

      I’d be itching to say: “I’ll return the favor and give you some advice about claiming to have won the academy award yourself when you were an assistant; it comes over a little naive about what assistant roles entail and thought you’d want to know in case you tried getting another similar role in the future” or “Did assistant roles on that gig actually put you in charge of the film making? Wow!” But, I know you’re right Dustbunny.

    2. EPLawyer*

      This is where I fall. OP, he is not worthy of your time to try to educate. You concentrate on being an AMAZING fillmaker. Please update us your film when you can.

      The best revenge is living well.

    3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      Yeah this is probably the best thing to do. As satisfying as it would be to try and take him down a peg or two it might just invite a tedious escalation. Block and ignore.

  18. MilitaryProf*

    At my workplace, any time we have an opening, we can count on an application from “Nobel Laureate” guy. His CV, under the heading “Professional Accomplishments,” includes a claim to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. It does not mention that said Nobel Prize was given to “all peacekeeping forces, worldwide” that year, without actually attaching any names–and since he was on active duty at the time, he just presents it as “his” Nobel Prize.

    1. Goose*

      This is like how I’m Time’s “Person of the Year 2006.” I’ve seen people put that on their resume as a joke since it’s a known joke, but they’ve taken it off for any real submissions.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      Didn’t we once get a letter about someone who put “Time Person of the Year” on their resume because of the year it was “You”?

      1. Alexander Graham Yell*

        No idea, but I can’t tell you how many people still think it’s clever enough to put on Tinder.

      1. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

        There was that one heady day where I was speculating if I could declare myself a Hugo Award Winner due to my many contributions to AO3, but I was just being silly/joyful about it for the most part.

      2. Nanani*

        Isn’t it technically the OTW that won?
        If you’re on the board of that, you can probably use it.

        (But don’t if you’re just a random user)

        1. anna y. mous*

          Nope! The Award went to “The Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works.” The Board specifically did not win. Source: am a former AO3 staffer.

    3. Batgirl*

      I’d be so tempted to make him explain it each and every time. “We are really interested in the specific projects and work that caught the eye of the Nobel committee. Can you tell us about what they liked and what it was like to meet them?”

      1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

        “And what did you do with the prize money?”

        1. MilitaryProf*

          That would be fun, but it would also require us to advance him to the interview stage, and there are a lot of reasons why we won’t make that mistake twice…

    4. pieforbreakfast*

      Not the same exactly, but reminded me of my jury duty service in 2001 when multiple potential jurists answered they were victims of crime ” in that George W Bush was deemed president in the 2000 election”. But then I live in an (former) anarchist jurisdiction.

  19. Sparkles McFadden*

    I’d say that the guy is not worth the the time. Even if it only took a few minutes to answer him, you’d be better off spending those few minutes flossing or cleaning the crumbs out of your toaster.

    Self-aggrandizing people like this are unreachable. They’re only good if you need material in order to entertain your friends. So, if you do choose to contact him, please update all of us.

    1. JanetM*

      I have a bad habit of skimming / skipping words when I read. My mental image of someone flossing their toaster was a bit puzzling.

    2. Van Wilder*

      I’m also predicting that further engaging results in an invitation to dinner. Which, when declined, will result in “you’re stuck up, I just wanted to help.”

    1. Rbeezy*

      It is. But I do agree with it. It’s really hard to make ridiculous people truly see themselves.

  20. Goose*

    No matter what route you choose to go, please update us LW! What an egregious act of jerkitude.

    1. Anonym*

      Yes, even if you decide to ignore! We’ll celebrate you getting time and brain-space back and moving on with your great life and career. Seriously!

  21. Batgirl*

    I think it’s tough because idiot braggarts do try it on with white men too, and it looks pretty similar, it just gets shut down faster and happens less. That just makes it harder for people to say “this is racist/sexist” because they see similar behavior happening when it’s ‘just being an idiot’. I’m white so it doesn’t happen super often to me, but when it does, it’s obvious when it’s one of the ones caused by sexism. Like the guy zeros in on the youngest women in the room as though you’re prey for his ideas farm (or targets a niche group), or it takes a patronizing tone like “helping you” or blatantly assume you know nothing. When it’s “just an idiot” they are usually less insulting, just oblivious to their own unimportance.

  22. Jen*

    Does this read like a potential scammwr to anyone else? It seems scam-y to me. Block him and move on.

  23. Please use my full title when addressing me: Emmy Award Winning Anonymous Commenter*

    Wait! An episode of a Very Famous Show I was a PA on years and years ago won an Emmy, and I am now reframing my entire self-perception and rewriting my Linked In profile! I, too, pivoted careers after a brief life in showbiz, and obviously have not been been giving myself my due.

    LW, I’d offer to come out of PA retirement to “help out” and give you outdated advice (we used actual film!), but I hung up my walkie a long time ago.

    I do hope you find a way to tell us about your doc, though, so we support you!

    1. Ardis Paramount*

      Years ago, I performed as a musician on a recording which won a Classical Grammy.
      It is not “my” Grammy Award.
      We did take selfies with the trophy while it was in the lobby…and we each got a certificate to frame, which was cool.

    2. kitryan*

      I performed at Carnegie Hall… as part of a huge performance of a Mahler piece that required at least 3 different school choirs in addition to an orchestra and so forth.

      1. Sasha*

        Oh yes! I once sang at the Albert Hall in London! As part of a schools choir thing, there were thousands of us (our school choir was open entry, you just had to attend rehearsals. I was a terrible singer).

    3. Easily Amused*

      I was a Lighting/Compositing Artist for many years mostly on animated films. Several of the movies I worked on were nominated for Oscars. For one, I did the work for the 2 shots ready to show during the ceremony that put the main characters in the seat with an audience – 1 if we won, the other if we lost (we lost). I used to joke with friends about being nominated for an Oscar but can’t fathom saying “my Oscar nomination” to a random person – especially someone in the business! It’s not that big!

      I also worked for a Web Development company that had its office on Broadway in NYC (the actual street). Having grown up wanting to be in theater, I joked that I finally made it to Broadway.

    4. Worldwalker*

      I performed before a game in Madison Square Garden. Along with my entire junior high school marching band, on some kids’ day thing, but hey, I was there!

      And one sentence in a history of my industry mentions a prominent person’s website, which I built because he was a friend.

      Am I famous yet? Do I get to condescend to people?

  24. Goose*

    I can’t stop thinking about this. My fun fact at work events is that I have an IMDB credit from working as a production intern back in high school, but I would never even think of taking credit for anything that happened. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind! The audacity of this guy!!

    1. LimeRoos*

      Hahaha, I have the same fun fact! I’m on IMDB from playing violin for a friend of a friend’s grad school film. It’s great to pull out for ice breakers but that’s really all it’s good for. The audacity of this guy indeed.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        My ice breaker is that I performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC.

        I was a senior in HS and my school choir was invited, along with about 12 other choirs, to perform a selection of songs based on Broadway musicals. There were about 500 of us in the choir but on my tombstone it will read “Performed at Carnegie Hall”.

        1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

          Hey, what an exclusive club we’re in!

          I did something very similar, but with a different selection. Ours was some sort of honorarium for a decorated conductor. I can’t for the life of me remember what music we sang because I had to give the real score back — the photocopies got lost in one of my moves.

        2. kitryan*

          Ha! I just commented with my Carnegie Hall performance credits- same as you except it was Mahler, not musicals!

    2. Unfortunately the OP*

      Honestly it’s pretty cool! Go you! The first time I got on IMDB I was so so excited. If I left the industry it could very well be my fun fact.

      1. not that kind of Doctor*

        I left the industry and became an accountant. Now people google me and get my IMDB page. (I did sound effects editing.) It’s honestly hilarious! :D

        1. kitryan*

          I also have a single IMDB credit for costume design from before I switched gears. It’s really more than I actually did, since I wasn’t day to day during production – I did preproduction work for a project I was really excited about but I had scheduling conflicts for filming. The writer/star/editor ended up doing the production aspect working from my notes and from the costumes we had put together from people’s wardrobes and my stock. I think she appreciated my (unpaid) last minute assistance and felt that writer/editor/star were enough credits!

  25. Rbeezy*

    As a female attorney, I have been on the receiving end of this nonsense so many times. As an associate, I litigated a case against a clueless self-represented homeowner who kept suing his homeowners association as a hobby/extension of his libertarian politics. He had no understanding of civil procedure, had no idea what he was doing, and I eventually won the case and sought tens of thousands of dollars of my client’s attorneys’ fees. This clown had the audacity to tell my partner that the partner should be grateful that he was “educating his associate” (me) on litigation. The confidence of a mediocre white man is unbounded. My partner told me he should have responded, “yeah, educating her on what not to do.”

    Another incident, though less egregious: I was at a kickboxing gym sparring with a partner. Partner asked what I did for a living. “I’m an attorney.” He responds “oh cool, you’re in law school? where do you go?” I said “I’m a practicing attorney. I do business/corporate litigation.” He responds “oh cool, what do you want to do one day?” Me again: “I’m literally a practicing attorney.” He could not grasp that I actually practiced law for a living. This was a milder incident, but I think there was an inability to see me as anything more competent/intimidating than a student “just learning” for now.

    1. Batgirl*

      Ah yes, the old “all women are college students because they are smaller and smoother of face” fallacy.

    2. Yessica Haircut*

      Oh dear, I don’t think I started today with the capacity for helplesas, wordless rage I needed to read this comment.

    3. Sal*

      Awww, I had your second experience with a bank teller when I was in law school. “Oh, are you here to set up a checking account? Are your parents here? Oh, you’re in law school, did you just move here this week? Oh, you’re in your last year. Hrm. I see.”

      And then a taxi driver thought I was a college freshman on my 31st birthday. Smh. I guess we take good care of our skin?

      1. Really Just a Cat*

        oooh once in Home Depot I (30) went with my best friend (40) and her daughter (16) to get a key cut for me for their new house. Back then they didn’t have the self-serve kiosks, and the older man who helped us insisted we must all be college roommates getting keys together. This wasn’t a ‘oh you must be sisters!’ thing. He LITERALLY thought we were college roommates, and refused to believe us when we told him that none of us, in fact, were college-age.

      2. Elizabeth Bennett*

        At least men can grow facial hair if they have baby faces. I met my husband online when I was 25, and the first picture I saw of him was baby face, smooth to the chin. I seriously questioned whether he was out of high school yet. He was 24.

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          My husband is almost 5 years younger than me, and I met him just a few weeks before my 30th birthday. I went away for a few months the summer after meeting him and he came to meet me in the airport. I seriously worried about other people wondering why this adult woman was kissing a child because he looked so young.

      3. Worldwalker*

        When I managed an arcade (that was a long time ago!) my district manager would get hassled by school truant officers when he was visiting his locations …he was in his 30s with a wife and two kids. He’ll probably be getting carded when he’s past 60.

        …wait, he *is* past 60 now. That’s depressing.

      4. Van Wilder*

        When I was 22, I went to a store with my mom and was looking at a suit. The sales associate said “Oh, that would be perfect for you – are you like on the debate team?” I had to push through all my embarrassment to say “No… I’m an accountant.” She just looked embarrassed and/or like she was waiting for the punchline. In fairness to her, I really did look 16 and was probably wearing jeans and sneakers.

    4. Jen*

      I once had a friend’s husband start talking over me about a legal issue because “Oh I took poli Sci, I know about this”. This was someone who didn’t have a BA.

      I am (and this guy was aware of this) an attorney. We were discussing a recent Supreme Court case in the extremely specialized area I practice in.

    5. Delta Delta*

      I have always looked younger than I am. When I was about to leave for my 1L year of law school I went to the eye doctor to see if I needed glasses for all that reading I was about to do.

      Eye doctor: What do you need reading glasses for?
      Me: I’m going to law school.
      Eye doctor: You should come back in a few years before you go to law school.
      Me: I’m going there tomorrow.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Ah yes. I very kindly did an informational interview with an acquaintance’s son who was young guy just starting out in Accounting. I am a CFO with decades of experience. He proceeded to explain to me how to do everything etc etc. I barely said a word. Once my coffee was done, I got up shook his hand and wished him luck. From what I can tell, he has not been very successful and his parents are so surprised. Huge eye roll….

      2. Jay*

        When I was in my late 30s, my glasses broke into pieces while I was wearing them. I’m a doc, so I had no time to deal with this and also needed to see. Took my prescription to Glasses While You Wait, and it was too old, so they shunted me to their tame optometrist. I filled out the paperwork including “employment.” He never looked it. He finished the exam and started breaking the news to me gently.

        Optometrist: Many women in their early 40s…
        Me: I’m 38.
        Optometrist. Oh. Um, well, they start to need some assistance with reading…
        Me: I get it. I need bifocals. That’s fine.
        Optometrist: Don’t be upset! You can get progressive lenses and no one will ever know.
        Me (who does not care at all if people know): Is there any difference in vision between regular bifocals and progressives?
        Optometrist: With progressives, you lose a little bit of peripheral vision for close work. That doesn’t bother women because you only need that part for reading or sewing.
        Me: When I sew, it’s usually on people.

        At which point he looked down, saw the MD, and shut up.

            1. Chauncy Gardener*

              And mine happened just a couple of years ago. Which means people ARE STILL RAISING GUYS LIKE THIS. WHY???

          1. AK*

            That’s horrible and indefensible. But please know that your perfect response is giving strangers on the internet delight and satisfaction more than two decades later. It is the perfect example of a “cutting remark”.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          “When I sew, it’s usually on people.” That is a mic drop moment for sure!

        2. Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar*

          “Me: When I sew, it’s usually on people.”

          CLASSIC. Follow-up, “Want me to show you? I’m very good.”

          That first part must be part of the white male optometrist certification, because mine said almost the same thing to me (about needing bifocals) and I wondered why he was so comfortable taking that tone when there was nothing between my knees and his… stool.

          This was two years ago.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer*

          — When I sew, it’s usually on people.—-

          New favourite person. Seriously that’s one brilliant response you came out with!

    6. Mouser1*

      When I was in college studying Einstein’s theory of relativity, I met a friend of a friend who spent the whole night arguing with me that the laws of physics were obviously wrong because it didn’t make sense to him. He was a psychology major.

      1. Worldwalker*

        Well, I’m firmly convinced that all the people in the world who really grok quantum physics could have a meeting in a moderately-sized restaurant.

    7. Elizabeth Bennett*

      Not so much on the microaggression them, but a “know your opponent” attorney nugget. My father watched a case in a town in a conservative county, where the defendant’s attorney was from out of town. The counsel for the plaintiff opened with some statements to rustle the jury, saying stuff like, “Do you want some highfalutin attorney from [big city in another county] coming in here and telling us how to run our city?” After he sat down, the defendant’s attorney stood up and asked the jury, “How many of y’all had Mrs. O’Reilly for freshman English?”

      He grew up and graduated high school from that very town.

      My father said the defendant’s attorney spoke quietly, but when he spoke, he dropped nuclear bombs. I programmed his phone number into my phone, should I ever have the misfortune of needing a criminal attorney defend me.

      Also, he won the case.

    8. pope suburban*

      At least punching him would have been a contextually-appropriate response in the latter situation. Not in the face or anything, unless of course that was fair play in that instance, but punching nonetheless. That might have been enjoyable.

    9. Anon on this*

      Also a female attorney- in a meeting where I was leading the team for my client’s side of the matter, I had a consultant who also worked for my client lean across my male first year associate who was sitting between us to ask me if I could step out to arrange a room for him to do a call. I was leading the team; consultant was sitting in the meeting doing nothing terribly productive. In addition to the first year associate who was sitting between us and less actively engaged in the meeting than I was (and not leading the meeting or holding overall responsibility for the outcome), there were 5-6 receptionists across our client floors who he could have spoken to directly to ask for assistance. I turned to my associate – who to his credit looked completely mortified by the situation- and asked him to step out and organise a room for consultant to do his call. I guess it had not occurred to the consultant that anyone other than a woman could walk out to the reception desk and ask the team to arrange a room for a call?

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Hahah – I remember an attorney I knew (a woman) who would show up early at depositions with her stacks of binders and rolly bag and sit at the table. The attorneys would look at her and assume she was support staff and start talking, or ask her for coffee, or whatever. She’d wait until the deposition was ready to begin before identifying herself. Sometimes they’d be discussing their strategy in front of her.

  26. Sylvan*

    I probably wouldn’t respond.

    I met a blowhard on a bus in western North Carolina who had an eerily similar story. I didn’t ask, but I sure heard all about it! I assumed it was all fiction based on his stories not making sense, his takes on film and art seeming bad, and his presence on a bus in western North Carolina. All you can do is disengage until he leaves you alone.

  27. HailRobonia*

    Going by this guy’s logic (“I worked in a very minor roll on something that got an Oscar”), I guess I can claim I have a Nobel Prize because I used to work in the main office of a department at a university and one of the faculty got a Nobel while I was there. Maybe he never would have gotten a Nobel if it were not for me reserving conference room B for a lab meeting 3 years prior….

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      ha. Then I’m claiming some kind of proximity to greatness because maybe my former boss wouldn’t have been inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters if I hadn’t processed all those travel receipts for him.

    2. On a pale mouse*

      Oh man, I didn’t even realize I’m a Nobel winner! I kept the campus network running, so clearly I share in that one chemistry professor’s Nobel prize! And I have the Hugo since I’ve posted to AO3. I need to find Isaac Asimov asap and explain to him everything about chemistry and writing!

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      I’m guessing it is because nobody has ever held him to task for it. The ones who experience it have everything to lose if they do. The ones who have the capital to expend to call him out may not see it happening.

  28. Yessica Haircut*

    I would absolutely love for the actual documentary filmmaker who won an Oscar for their project to find out that a random PA they’d hired was out there calling this “his doc” and “his Academy Award.”

    1. Batgirl*

      That would be so satisfying for OP if she ever got the chance to giggle over it with them. I bet there are more stories about this character.

  29. Kiko*

    This is hilarious. I work in a similar industry, and since it’s so male dominated, I’ve had to occasionally deal with similar behavior. Thankfully none of them have had the audacity to try to hit on me by attempting to belittle my experience. For some reason, I suspect this annoying man will no longer be interested in your work if you mention (real or not) a SO…

    1. Batgirl*

      Snap, I had the same thought because it’s happened to me. Who are these people advising men that women are only interested in resume soundbites, and that they’ll put out for career help?

  30. gingko*

    For those who missed it, “I see this as a clear-cut racist and sexist microaggression. I’m not asking if I have a right to be offended”

    OP, sorry you had to deal with this.

    1. Ryn*

      Honestly. The doubting of OP’s account in this comments section is just truly just piling on the micro-aggressions, talk about adding insult to injury. People who are part of marginalized identities get to decide when actions cross the line into micro-aggression, and it’s *certainly* not for folks outside of those identity groups to adjudicate.

  31. Autumnheart*

    I’d be like, “Actually, I looked up that documentary because I was interested to learn more about it, and it looks like the Oscar went to [name of actual winner] and I couldn’t find your name in any of the credits. What involvement in that film did you have, exactly?” Assuming he really isn’t listed in the credits–if he is, then you can say, “I see you were credited as one of the production assistants. What was your role and what were your duties?”

    I have to think that adding “I won an Oscar” in one’s Linkedin profile, when it is so easy for anyone to just google who won the Oscar for whichever category in a given year, is a ridiculously transparent lie. And it’s a grandiose lie, too. It’s like saying you graduated from Harvard when you never went to college, or saying you were a Green Beret when you flunked out of boot camp. This dude isn’t just channeling “Mediocre White Man” confidence, he’s exhibiting some kind of pathology where he thinks he belongs among the elite. I would probably not engage with this dude just on that basis alone. He’s got all the rope he needs to hang himself with–no need to get tangled up in it.

    1. AK*

      “This dude isn’t just channeling “Mediocre White Man” confidence, he’s exhibiting some kind of pathology where he thinks he belongs among the elite.”

      People in this thread keep saying versions “It’s not X, it’s X”. (To be clear, I agree with everything you say)

      1. Autumnheart*

        It’s not that I think it’s not X, it’s that someone willing to put a Trump-level lie on their Linkedin might edge into the realm of “unstable personality” instead of just being a man-splaining micro-aggressor (as if those aren’t annoying enough). I don’t think it’d be worth getting into it with one of those people.

        1. AK*

          Oh I know – like I said I agree entirely with you, and I caught the operative word “just” that differentiates your post from the ones described by Elbe below. I just think it’s funny when people (and I catch msyelf doing it too) say things like “it’s not just that he’s sexist he actually believes he’s inherently better than others”.

      2. Elbe*

        Some people are making a distinction between sexist/racist grandiosity and general delusion as a way of negating the LW’s assertion that this is a race/gender microaggression – and I completely disagree with that sentiment.

        But I think Autumnheart is making the distinction because the it IS relevant to the LW’s question of how to respond to him. Someone who has a bit of self awareness may respond to being called out with shame or, hopefully, be less likely to do it again in the future. But it’s not going to affect someone who is genuinely believes what they’re saying. In fact, people who are delusional often react really poorly to having that image of themselves punctured.

        This guy doesn’t sound particularly balanced. If it were me, I don’t think I’d call him out just out of caution. I think that the response from Alison is great because it weighs the pros and cons of responding vs. not responding.

      3. Self Employed*

        I have been accused of being delusional for “claiming” to have a 3.2 GPA from one of the midrange state colleges. Not the fancy ones like Cal or UCLA, one of the middle of the pack with a doofy mascot. I told him “If I were going to make up things to put on my resume, do you really think I’d settle for less than a 4.o from CalTech or Stanford?”

  32. CeeKee*

    I kind of wish she’d track down the actual makers of said doc and alert them to this major clout-theft.

  33. another_scientist*

    I was wondering if OP has a trusted connection in that movie-making-community and can reach out privately for a gut check. If only to hear ‘yeah, he does that a lot’ *eyeroll*, or maybe to find out that he is the nephew of famous guy with same last name, and that’s why people humor him.

    1. Indy Dem*

      For those who don’t get this, it’s a sarcastic take on how presenters at the Oscars give rewards to the recipients.

      1. Rusty Shackelford, Hugo-Award Winning Comment Writer*

        Actually, it’s technically called the Academy Awards. The Oscar is the statuette.

        1. meyer lemon*

          Well, actually if you’re going to refer to the Oscars®, you should really be using the ® symbol. But I wouldn’t have expected you to know that.

  34. Ladycrim*

    I’d also be tempted to ask for a current photo of him with the Oscar. “Take a selfie right now and show me! I’m sure it’s in a place of honor on your shelf!” Then watch him claim it was lost or stolen or something. “What?? Have you alerted AMPAS? You know they’ll both keep an eye out for it and replace it, don’t you? I can call them for you; it’s no trouble!”

  35. Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar*

    I don’t know which metro area you’re in, OP, but I’m guessing it’s outside of LA, where this kind of dude is endemic. Unfortunately, it’s not limited to white guys, or even guys. I met plenty of pathological liars who overinflated (or flat-out lied about) their qualifications and background when they thought they’d have a shot at showing off or maybe even an opportunity. I’d bet money he likes the uncertainty created by that famous name he shares.

    But it’s also a truism that it’s a small industry, and you never know who knows whom. You don’t need to invest time or intention on him because he’s clearly nobody. A simple, “Thanks, but you don’t have the background I’m looking for,” is enough. And then don’t reply to any follow-ups.

    1. Captain Awkward*

      This is by far the wisest call. Disengage while he’s at the “patronizing weirdo” larval stage and don’t hatch the butterfly of “annoying dude with time on his hands and a shiny new sense of grievance.”

      OP, the “So, tell me more about being an asssissssssssstant” script I suggested in the occasional Manager-Awkward “WTF?” back-channel is for if he comes back around to pester you, not something to seek him out to deliver, and it’s deliberately polite.

      Same deal if you share in the groups or backchannel DMs for Women/BIPOC filmmakers, like, “Does anyone know _____? He offered me advice, and at first I thought he was (actual famous person), but it turns out he’s (this guy). Does he make offers like this regularly? Anyone take him up on it?”

      If he sucks, generally, the dirt will pour out like a swarm of bees. But your written communications will be impeccable.

      1. Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar*

        You know those quoted reviews on film trailers? I’m hearing the “In a World” guy in my head:

        Captain Awkward calls Former Female Film Professional’s writing “…wisest…”

        “Five stars!”
        – Times Square Olive Garden Yelp Review

      2. Unfortunately the OP*

        Alison’s advice was spot on – in making me question my motivations. Yes, part of me wants to put him in his place. That’s not necessarily a good reason for confrontation. Another reason for responding would be to nip this bs in the bud before it happens to someone else. I’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it.

        I appreciate your advice too! Disengage is the smart thing to do. I don’t want to demean the work of assistants in my potential response but I think IF he contacts me again, it would be fair to emphasize his position.

        To clarify, the mediocre guy from my OP is not anyone in my industry, not anyone famous, not anyone that I need to worry about offending if I were to clap back. But I did take it to one of my favorite groups and it ended up being a therapy thread for me, honestly, because everyone else shared their own stories of this kind of mediocre behavior. That seems to be happening here too! :)

        1. Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar*

          I’m right there with you on shutting that down, and will. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, it comes at an energy cost. Like the guy I pulled aside at a professional meeting (I was in charge) who I asked, privately and nicely, to please not approach our guest speakers to question their credentials, particularly women with PhDs. He went ballistic on me, screaming that I was “abrasive” and “attacking him” and he “wouldn’t let himself be treated so disrespectfully!” Big show of stomping out, followed by a letter to our board claiming I’d “verbally assaulted him in front of everyone.” No consequences for me except having to explain what really happened, several times, but you know there’s always that suspicion, especially from other men, that somehow you brought it on yourself because this guy was SO upset… and they’ve never had a man freak out on them like that, right?

          People do this because they want to be seen as important. Being ignored is painful for them. :)

    2. Yvette*

      “…and you never know who knows whom.” And who goes on to become an industry leader. It was “Steven who??” when Spielberg made “Jaws”. (Not that this guy would become an industry leader, but he might know someone.)

      1. Red 5*

        This dude is claiming he won somebody else’s Oscar. He’s not going to suddenly be head of development at a studio and if he does know somebody they don’t like him.

        One of the cardinal rules in film is you don’t screw with credits. You give it where it’s due, and you don’t take it when it’s not. This guy either has no friends in the industry or a lot of enemies.

        1. Yvette*

          I was referring to the fact that he shared a name with someone who was big in the industry and somebody else pointing out that they may be related. And that he may still know some people in the industry, as Former Female Film Professional, no Oscar said “But it’s also a truism that it’s a small industry, and you never know who knows whom.”

  36. Batgirl*

    I think women sometimes have it overly drilled into them to consider men’s feelings…. because you truly get lambasted if you don’t. I always wonder if it’s OK to shoot down an insult, especially when you see men do it all the time. If OP responded she wasn’t looking for advice on filmmaking from assistants would that be it? Would they slink away? If she had to spell out that they couldn’t grasp the difference between winning an Oscar and not, would she be chastised for saying that or cheered? I don’t know..

    1. Nanani*

      I mean, sometimes you get stalked, assualted, or killed if you don’t.

      The problem is not “women are TOO” considerate/nice/accepting/worried.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        No, the problem is the social pressure for us to carry the emotional labour of everyone and everything. And that we’re too often told it’s our fault that we were attacked/abused/paid less/denied employment opportunities because if we’d been nicer it wouldn’t have happened.

        Add a power of 2 to that when you’re a BIPOC woman, disabled woman, transgender woman….

        Key part of why I’ve got a real short tolerance for any kind of mansplaining these days. Fix yourselves men, I’m not doing it anymore.

  37. Indy Dem*

    I wouldn’t engage. But thank you for sharing your experience with us, the best outcome from your experience with this individual is to share it with others, to educate those who aren’t aware and to support those who are and have experienced it many many times.

    Also, as a mediocre white male myself, I try to keep myself in check by enjoying the mediocrity!

  38. Better Yet*

    Set up a meeting, film it, let him talk alllll he wants about his amazing experience and wisdom, advertise online viewing of the meeting with audience participation mst3k style, finance your next film.

  39. Elbe*

    I think both Alison and Jennifer had great responses to this.

    Whether or not the LW should respond depends on her own goals. If she wants to respond because she would be getting something out of it (satisfaction, etc.) then she should go for it. If she’s actually hoping that HE will get something out of it, then she shouldn’t bother.

    If this guy were open to feedback and had the self awareness to make changes… he would not be where he is now. This is not the first time that he has claimed that he won an Oscar. She would not be the first person to say that, no, he didn’t.

    Lots of people are overconfident and lots of people exaggerate their accomplishments. IMO, this seems to go above and beyond that into actual delusion territory.

  40. Kelaine*

    Ha ha ! Sounds SO MUCH like this guy I met once on a dating site. He claimed he was a “graduate student in astrophysics”. In reality, he had actually only audited part of a grad school course as a non-matriculated student and hadn’t even finished that one course.

  41. Somebody*

    So, I wouldn’t respond, but I would screenshot it and share it with the mods of the group (my brain says it was a Facebook group, but I need to scroll up and check if you said that, OP, or if I just assumed). I am in a lot of Facebook groups and in many of them, this is something the mods would want to know about (and in some of them, he’d find himself blocked).

    1. Red 5*

      Yes to screenshots. One, get him kicked out of the group if you can, but two if you obscure his name (or not) most people in the industry will laugh at his expense for DAYS.

  42. Ina Lummick*

    If it were me I’d write a response down separately – in a word doc or something. And then delete it – just to get it out my system

    1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

      I’ve been known to hand-scrawl many a rant on paper, then toss it/burn it. I find it oddly therapeutic.

  43. Delta Delta*

    I feel like I wouldn’t want to engage with this guy at all, and just let the matter stop there.

  44. a sound engineer*

    Nothing to add, just wanted to sympathize. I work in audio and stuff like this is par for the course. Most recently saw a female Grammy-winning engineer have a random dude try to explain the basics of recording to her in a group I’m in. Welcome to the club :/

  45. Abogado Avocado*

    Ugh. Do not engage any further with this guy. While it may be satisfying to respond as the marvelous Captain Awkward has suggested, this guy is: (1) sufficiently untethered to reality to think he can give advice based on highly limited experience; (2) so obviously unqualified that no one else is hiring him; and (3) not worth any more of your time.

    My profession is not even adjacent to yours, but I can promise you that more than 30 years of law practice has demonstrated to me that there are plenty of weird (some would say personality disordered), time-wasting people out there who will seek to engage with you. You will not cure them or even make them better by responding or otherwise advising them that their views are irrelevant. Therefore, unless you’re really bored, have nothing else to do, and don’t mind having your email filled up with irrelevant crap from this guy, my advice is to not respond any further and go on with your life.

  46. AK*

    If anyone here is so out of touch with reality to not see this as massively sexist and racist, just imagine the treatment OP would get if she tried to pull the same shit this guy did. You don’t have to look far to see hardworking, quality work-outputting people of color being told they’re just there as a token/for affirmative action etc. and that’s for above average performers. The absolute ridicule that OP would face if she tried this shit with this guy’s experience and work history is enough to show the disparity. That he hasn’t been laughed out of every venue like the world’s best comedian but instead thinks “yeah, this will go well” is enough to show the differences. His (irrelevant) intent might be benign, but that’s because society has let him coddle himself to the point of seeing himself as the helpful, experienced hero. And everyone else as …..not that. Sorry for the rant. It’s so frustrating because this is the cartoon, obvious example of “this dude” that crops up in smaller, less “screen shot-able” moments all the time.

  47. La Triviata*

    heh … this reminds me of one of my favorite TV scenes – early on, a Criminal Minds episode, had three women from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in a bar. One goes to get drinks and comes back with a man who she introduces and says he works for the FBI. There’s some talk back and forth and they ask questions and most of his answers are, “it’s confidential.” They ask to see his ID/credentials and he gives his standard response. Then one pulls out her ID and asks if his looks anything like that … and the other two follow suit. He kind of slinks off to find someone more gullible.

  48. Dumpster Fire*

    I’d love to see you forward some of the messages that he sent to you, to the people who REALLY won the Oscar – telling them that he claims to have won it himself and he’s applying for a job with you, and what are his skills? If I were the actual winner, I’d probably ask a lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter to him.

  49. learnedthehardway*

    Honestly, I wouldn’t look at this as primarily misogyny or racism, although there is probably an element of that in there somewhere.

    I think this is more of an example of the Dunning-Krueger effect, combined with an overwhelming ego and sense of self-importance.

    I would bet money that this guy would respond to a white male in your industry requesting assistance in exactly the same way.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      ETA – I have interviewed (and in one case, managed) people like this – they often truly believe that they were the one who led the initiative / did the accomplishment / achieved the win. You have to drill down like the OP did to figure out exactly what their contribution was, if anything.

    2. Unfortunately the OP*

      I wasn’t requesting assistance. I was floating around a job description in a group of job-seekers, for a position I am hiring for.

      And I would bet more money that he wouldn’t have responded to a white male in my industry the same way.

    3. Emma2*

      Please see upthread where people have exhaustively addressed this point from many angles. For people who deal with this sort of thing all the time, it is exhausting to have to explain repeatedly that this thing you recognise because you see it all the time is happening again. Also, continuously having your experience doubted is problematic in itself (particularly when it is well documented that the type of experience you are reporting is real – OP is not someone ranting that your cat gives her the evil eye every time she comes to visit, she is saying that she is experiencing a clearly described phenomenon).
      To be clear, I say this as a woman but not a person of colour (clarifying to avoid claiming the experience of a person of colour).

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        As another woman (not a person of color), I am facepalming at how many people have posted to whitesplain that this jerk’s behavior is really not an example of a racial microaggression, just a jerk being jerky. Like that’s some brilliant insight (it’s not) that would never have never occurred to the OP or any of the rest of us (it wouldn’t have, because it’s b.s.). I guess the fact that I’m this surprised is an indication of my own privilege (a lesson I will definitely not forget any time soon). But man, it’s just SO presumptuous. X-[

    4. Rocky*

      He definitively would not have taken this approach to a white male. You’re repeating the micro agression by saying so.

    5. AK*

      “I would bet money that this guy would respond to a white male in your industry requesting assistance in exactly the same way.”

      And yet you still wouldn’t lose as much as the people who have to deal with this sort of behaviour.

    6. Pibble*

      So your response to someone complaining that their actual experience was discounted and talked over by someone with little to no knowledge of the situation is to…discount the OP’s actual experience and talk over them with your little to no knowledge of the situation?

  50. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    Captain Awkward for the win!

    I have done something similar. I had the pleasure of doing it face to face. It was glorious.

  51. Water Everywhere*

    I would be very tempted to reply “Thanks so much for the kind offer! I’d be very interested to hear the advice you’ve given to white men with my experience” just to see if he’d get the point.

    But I do agree with other commenters that it’s probably best to not reply at all to spare yourself any more ‘help’.

  52. Red 5*

    I’ve left the industry but having known quite a few of these guys my first question is was the director/ producer of that doc a William or POC? Because these dudes LOVE to really about how they “really” did the work.

    But also, nobody in the film industry is confuse about who won an award. You barely have to be on set a couple days before you know full well who is eligible for/ actually awarded anything. But you ESPECIALLY know that Oscars go to producers. He’s intentionally lying, probably to sell you on whatever he’s cold call selling these days. This will never be an honest mistake to make.

    And if he knows what he’s doing, telling him doesn’t really do anything but waste your resources and I’ve done the feature doc grind, you don’t have time for him.

      1. Red 5*

        I have absolutely no idea why my phone auto corrected “woman” to “William” but I feel like there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

        You’re right, as much as I’d love to know who this guy is, it’s not worth getting into any more detail.

        Good luck with your film! It’s a hard road but nothing replaces the feeling of seeing your finished piece on the screen in front of an audience : ) (Virtual or otherwise!)

  53. Kara S*

    I work in film as well and sadly this doesn’t surprise me, especially in indie world. I once met a guy who rented film gear out of a garage he also lived in (don’t ask… and yes I rented it because I was 19 and had no money!) and when I asked him if we could drop it off in 1 hour as opposed to his proposed 6, he screamed at me and then harassed me over email for 6 months :) my dad had to ask the guy in person to leave me alone and get him to sign an unofficial restraining order because he wouldn’t back off. He was the same brand of offensive and ridiculous as the man in your letter, I almost thought they could be the same person.

    My advice is don’t continue to talk to him because he could genuinely be harmful. If you do send one last message telling him off, definitely block him afterwards and report him to groups you’re in.

    Good luck with your doc!!

  54. Radio Girl*

    I got several messages via social media from a ‘’oil rig worker’’ recently.

    That is what this reminds me of: Scam. Ignore.

  55. Ardis Paramount*

    I know of a woman who claims someone else’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music on her own LinkedIn profile.
    She helped arrange the commission of the work – that’s it. (She also claims fluency in seven languages.)

  56. Barb*

    I don’t agree with the idea that being an assistant is a sick burn. That’s kind of messed up? (Also super passive aggressive). Just be straightforward, or better yet, ignore him because he’s not worth your time.

    1. Alianora*

      Thanks for saying that. Sure he’s being annoying, but being an assistant isn’t something to be ashamed of and shouldn’t be used as an insult. And I really don’t understand the need to reply to him at all.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Of course being an assistant isn’t an insult! The point is to underscore to this man that it’s very clear that his role was quite different than the one he’s attempting to claim.

      He is claiming he won someone else’s Oscar. Zeroing in on what his role was is not an insult to assistants; it’s just calling out some obvious BS.

  57. LizM*

    “Thanks for the conversation. I looked at your LinkedIn, and I’m really looking for someone with more recent experience. But if you’d like advice on how to get some experience with the latest techniques or trends, let me know.”

  58. Observer*

    OP, I don’t know your industry, but I sincerely hope that unless you do something totally ridiculous (like covering his house with graffiti that says “This guy is an idiot”), pushing back on this guy will not cause any blow back in the industry.

    But, even assuming I’m right, what would you hope to accomplish? This guy is incredibly un-self aware. And your instinct is telling you that he’s just going to try to gaslight you, or at least come back with a version “Well SOOORY for trying to HELP!” That’s really the bottom line – do you have a good chance of a result that will be worth whatever energy you expend?

    1. Boundaries*

      It’s mostly just not worth pushing back.

      No one in the industry is going to buy this, it’s such a small place and the lie is so unneeded. You could could definitely just leave him to his sad delusion.

  59. AnonInCanada*

    Wow. Talk about a year’s worth of crazy in just one day. It was bad enough dealing with the trucking company boss wanting to make a porn video involving his employees. Now this?

    My suggestion to OP: ask this guy to meet you at

    8949 Wilshire Boulevard
    Beverly Hills, California 90211

    with his Oscar® in hand, so the good folks at AMPAS can verify its authenticity. Put up or shut up, as I would tell him.

  60. Bob*

    My only thought is whatever response you give assume it will be made public and go viral.
    So bearing that in mind keep all correspondence from the guy and even record any calls (assuming one party consent is all that is legally required in your location).

    Frankly i think replying is a waste of energy and risk but there are some good ideas in the comments for what would make for awesome replies.

  61. Boof*

    So… as much as this dude is acting like an annoying stereotype, I think he’s also probably too delusional for the captain awkward response to do much except possibly cause you amusement (or, since the situation is already exasperating, probably more of that).
    I agree with allison that the only reason to respond is if you want to do it for yourself. And since this is a small community, it’s probably not worth being snarky – not because of him but again, for yourself and how you want to present yourself professionally.
    I think a one time response of “Sorry, initially I thought you might have been [name]. I think it’s a little strange you are trying to offer advice with so little experience, and since this is a small industry, I wanted to make you aware it comes off as pretty condescending, especially given our profiles. ”
    … and I can’t think of any sign off that doesn’t come off weird but pfffft, what presumption

    1. glt on wry*

      Agreeing with Boof.
      This guy seems to be in the same family (<—using the science ID) as that neg guy who was up here recently on March 2nd. Not genus, because he really doesn't seem to want to gain anything from connecting to the OP, but in 'family' because he seems to beg for a response.
      As much as revenge responses might feel great, I think you should just move on. This guy IS NOTHING to you and not worth a heavily-crafted, time-consuming response. You'll just be waiting to see "if he gets it" and gets back to you, and he won't, and then it turns into a teen-mean movie. Just don't respond/ block.

  62. Boundaries*

    Captain Awkward’s response is definitely the best possible one.

    And that Academy Award thing is also something I’ve come across in (white) women also. Though in the most recent circumstance we were acquainted enough that I felt I could push her away from it, and other people did too.

    If anyone’s confused as to why you can’t do that, even if you’ve worked on the film: Academy Awards are very specific about the titles and number of people who actually receive the award. Everyone else just worked there.

    It’s also the peak of amateurish behavior because industry people will immediately know it’s a lie. Saying you’ve worked on an Academy Award winning film is absolutely fine and has plenty of kudos, the lie is wholly unnecessary.

  63. AngryOwl*

    I agree that to respond or not depends on whether you want the satisfaction, since it’s unlikely to change anything. Personally, I’d probably respond with one of the excellent suggestions here (including CA’s), because my rage would demand it. I might do the screenshot thing too.

    Also, I am beyond over the downplaying of what’s happened here in the commentary. Comments like “I don’t really think this is a microaggression” help nothing, and actively help uphold those committing the aggressions.

    1. Observer*

      Comments like “I don’t really think this is a microaggression” help nothing, and actively help uphold those committing the aggressions.

      Honestly, does it even matter if it’s a microaggression or not? Because, regardless he’s a rude, creepy, clueless jerk. And the OP is justifiably annoyed by it. It doesn’t need to be a Certified Microaggression (TM) for the OP to push back, or to decide to handle it in whatever way she feels will give her the best outcome.

      I’m not saying that it’s NOT a microaggression. I am saying that litigating this is counterproductive in this context. The OP gets to react the way that best serves her either way.

  64. Erin*

    Omg definitely do the Captain Awkward version here. People who pull this kind of crap rarely understand that everyone sees through their inflated BS, but at least you won’t have to interact with him at all afterwards.

  65. Nicole*

    I hope we get an update on his reaction to whatever response you decide to send, OP. And good luck on the film!

  66. La Triviata*

    Disengaging might be the least annoying way to deal with this guy. He KNOWS he’s great, so any response other than leaping at the chance to be instructed could lead to being bombarded with messages and “proof” of how great he is, possibly escalating to serious problems.

    I had nearly forgotten this, but back when I was in college (when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I took a class in women’s literature. There was one young man in the class. In one book, a very young woman romanticizes a cavalry officer. EVERY woman in the class addressed how cavalry officers are classic romantic figures, how they’re considered dashing and so on. The one man insisted that it was his discipline that attracted her – he wouldn’t respond to any of the women’s comments or examples they brought up. Nope – it was discipline.

    1. just another Black girl*

      As a Black woman I wouldn’t take that bet — race does actually impact how women are treated and Black women often experience even more disrespect than White women do.

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