A TikTok video showing an interaction between a manager and an employee is getting pushback on the platform after people called it “strange.”
TikToker @oakwoodcrew has since removed the video from their page, but clips still circulating via duets show a manager comforting an employee who appears to be crying in a backroom.
“I am the manager but I am also… Their safe place. Mentor. Therapist. The person who buys them Christmas presents and birthday cakes,” the text reads as an even sadder cover of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” plays.
@tewmochswaggur #duet with @oakwoodcrew #restaurant my artist rendition of what happened before the recording, also yes idk if this is staged but its SO WEIRD! imagine sobbing at work and your manager decides to pull out their phone and hug you for a tiktok like GIRL WHAT #ate #what #work #flop ♬ the winner takes it all – november ultra
Working at a restaurant is a demanding and very specific type of job, and it’s not uncommon for employees to bond and become friends. A glance at the @oakwoodcrew TikTok page certainly suggests that’s the case here, but there are still inevitably power dynamics at play in any sort of work situation.
And though we may not be privy to the specific dynamics of all the individuals working at this particular restaurant, there is something unsettling about both filming what should have been a private interaction and acknowledging in the video itself that the lines between manager and employees have been blurred in such an unconventional way.
“Imagine crying to your manager and they say ‘WAIT!!! lemme record this,’” wrote @coolandhotgirl_123 in her duet, which has over 64,000 views.
@coolandhotgirl_123 #duet with @oakwoodcrew #restaurant ♬ the winner takes it all – november ultra
“I’m so glad I’m not the only one that found this to be highly strange,” @bluelipped admitted in the comments.
“To me it’s overstepping a manager’s position,” @melagriffith explained. “You can be encouraging but you are not a therapist or their friend…you need an appropriate boundary.”
One viewer expressed how “uncomfortable” they would be in a similar situation, while another suggested “it’s giving unethical power dynamic.”
“I would rather just be sent home lol not hugged and filmed,” @furannelise stated.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @oakwoodcrew via TikTok comment.