Jorts is not only a portmanteau of jean shorts — AKA Kevin Smith’s favorite article of clothing in the mid-2000s — but it is also the name of a fluffy orange cat who happens to have his own social media following. But just how did Jorts and his pal Jean become famous in the first place?
The unlikely pair of internet celebrities first rose to prominence when they were the subject of a Reddit post on the r/AmITheAsshole subreddit, as The Mary Sue pointed out. In the post, the Reddit user u/throwawayorangecat explained that there are two office cats where he works, one named Jorts and another named Jean.
The Reddit user explained that he believed the orange tabby Jorts was stupid because he could not open doors that were left slightly open, while the tortoiseshell Jean had no problem navigating such situations. When the Reddit user told his coworker Pam that he thought Jorts was unintelligent, Pam’s feelings were hurt. Not only did Pam shed tears for Jorts, but she even accused her coworker of “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes by saying orange cats are dumb.”
If that weren’t enough, Pam even put margarine on Jorts at one point in order to “attempt to teach him to groom himself better.” According to the Reddit user, he has since resolved his difference with Pam, including instilling in her the lesson that it’s never OK to apply margarine to your coworkers, even if they’re a cat.
The Reddit post that first introduced the world to Jorts and Jean went viral. Since Jorts launched his own Twitter account, which is shared by his pal Jean, he amassed more than 200,000 followers. This large following may have started out solely due to the hilarious story from Reddit, but Jorts has gone on to become an icon of worker’s rights due to the frequent pro-union posts he makes.
Jorts’ well-intentioned hot-takes about workers’ rights haven’t always gone over well on Twitter. In particular, one reply Jorts made on a post from someone who was criticizing an Instacart worker was interpreted by some as being ableist. In response to a Twitter user’s story about confronting an Instacart worker for doing a mediocre job at collecting groceries, Jorts replied, “Idea: Go get your own groceries.” While the response was probably meant to stand up on behalf of gig workers, it was interpreted by many as being insensitive to the fact that people with disabilities or who are medically vulnerable cannot and absolutely should not get their own groceries in the midst of a pandemic.
Despite the controversy over Jorts’ recent tweet, it doesn’t appear that the Twitter account will be shutting down any time soon. As the person who runs Jorts’ Twitter account explained to Insider back in May (months before the controversy), in regard to walking the sometimes difficult tightrope of running a politically-themed account,
“I am pretty liberated from that because I don’t have any strategy or purpose. I’m not leading up to anything or doing this for a living. Nobody has to approve my content or messaging. Just me! I tweet what I like […] After all, I’m a carnivorous predator but I’m also just a fuzzy little worker cat.”
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the saga surrounding the two cats named Jorts and Jean as soon as anything else unfolds.