If you think emotional support animals have got out of control, prepare yourself for news of an emotional support clown.
An Auckland advertising copywriter brought a clown to his redundancy meeting, as first reported in the New Zealand Herald on Friday.
New Zealand legally requires employers to allow workers the option of bringing a support person to serious disciplinary meetings, usually relating to an employeeâ€™s prospective dismissal.
After FCB New Zealand lost a significant client and began layoffs, Josh Thompson, who had reportedly been with the company for five months, received an ominous email from his bosses that read: â€œBad news. Weâ€™re having a meeting to discuss your role.â€
Faced with the task of securing an appropriate support person for the potentially tense meeting, Thompson, an aspiring comedian, said: â€œI thought itâ€™s best to bring in a professional, and so I paid $200 and hired a clown.â€
The clown, who Thompson refers to as â€œJoeâ€, crafted balloon animals throughout the meeting, including a poodle. His antics were squeaky, and Thompsonâ€™s bosses had to request he quieten down several times.
â€œItâ€™s further understood,â€ reported the Herald, â€œthat the clown mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over.â€
A picture of the meeting, taken through a boardroomâ€™s glass doors by an unknown spectator, is of compromised quality, though one can detect that Joe, the clown, is wearing a colorful hat and a yellow bib, and that Thompson, leaning back in his chair, indeed looks relaxed for someone in the process of getting laid off.
Thompson told Magic Talk radio: â€œI mean, I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running.â€
Fortunately, Thompson will not be out of work for long. The Australian ad agency DDB confirmed Thompson will start a new role in its office next week.
As of publishing, no reports have suggested whatâ€™s next for Joe.