The New York City Fire Department has certainly taken its fair share of lumps over the years when it comes to issues of race relations and diversity.
So you can imagine the sense of shock and panic that spread among FDNY brass when word got out that 23-year-old Joseph Cassano – one of the department’s EMT first responders – posted several sexist and racist comments on Twitter.
That’s because Joseph Cassano is the son of the FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
Among the gems found on Cassano’s now closed Twitter account, which were first reported in the New York Post and verified by an FDNY spokesman:
“Got kicked in the shin by a drunk and had to carry a 275 pound guy down 5 flights of stairs..my job is the worst #yearandahalftogo”
Cassano also aimed his narrow-minded views on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tweeting:
“MLK could go kick rocks for all I care, but thanks for the time and a half today.”
Cassano used a derogatory term you may not have heard before when he wrote:
“News flash to half of the island, ur white! Stop talking like ur a shwoog.”
Go online, and you’ll find “shwoog”, is another name for the “N-Word”.
Cassano’s apparent hate – didn’t discriminate when he wrote this:
“I like jews about as much as hitler #toofar? NOPE.”
A day after Cassano’s tweets came to light – his career – on the alleged fast track to becoming a bonafide firefighter — was extinguished.
He apologized – and resigned Monday.
Commissioner Cassano also apologized for his son.
Etzion Neuer of The New York Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League says resignation –and the apology – may not be enough to erase the damage that’s been done.
“One of the troubling aspects of the comments is that they actually threaten to undermine the public trust in the fire department. And when comments like this come out and they’re attributed to somebody who has even a loose affiliation, it’s possible for people to make that connection.”