by Kenneth Rudich
Before we could get very far into preparing the “Recommendations for Employers” that will appear in Parts 2 and 3 of our social networking series “Employee’s Facebook Rant Sparks Nightmare for Employer” (Part 1 here), we happened across another story that puts an exclamation point on why we decided to produce this series.
If you haven’t read Part 1, then it’ll be good for you to know the opening line states: “Every business with any number of employees, be it one or thousands, would be wise to heed the lessons to be learned from the social media firestorm ignited by a bartender of an upscale Chicago nightclub.”
As it turns out, now another social media firestorm, also started on a personal Facebook page, has surfaced as testimony to the sizable grief an employee can cause for an employer. Check it out.
What’s in a Brand?
As first reported by TheGrio.com, ‘“The Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Department is investigating a Facebook post by one of its captains that seems to blame the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on the “shi*tbag parents” of “our urban youth,” and the “ghetto hoodie look” of young black men like Martin.’ (Note: his profile identified him as a Miami-Dade firefighter local 1403.)
Now, for the sake of being able to make your own assessment of what was written, here’s the exact quote (which, btw, was posted about the same time it was announced George Zimmerman would be prosecuted for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin):
- “Listening to Prosecutor Corey blow herself and her staff for five minutes before pre-passing judgment on George Zimmerman. The state seeks reelection again, truth aside. I and my coworkers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, shitbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like Mrs. Corey, we speak only the truth. They’re just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn’t have anything to do with why people wonder if they’re about to get jacked by a thug.”
Other news outlets soon followed TheGrio.com with their own coverage of this public servant’s remark, and most of them gave it a similar spin.
In addition, his employer stated it was entirely inappropriate for the captain to make that statement on a public forum. Many colleagues were none too happy either, since he lumped them in as being on the same page as him.
The fire captain then attempted to defend himself against any and all criticism by writing, “I am a private citizen and have the same right to freely express an opinion on any subject that anyone else does.”
What Says You
Though the post has since been deleted, the repercussions from having put it up in the first place have yet to cease.
And because nothing better illustrates just how inflammatory something like this can be, we’ve assembled a small collection of the numerous comments that are pouring in from the public-at-large. Particularly note the first one in comparison to those that follow:
1. The only thing APPARENT in his statement is that he blames parents on youths troubles, and that he doesn’t like the prosecutor. Anything else people are getting out of this is pretty much what they are reading into it.
2. How does one serve and protect when he openly displays such arrogant and unrepentant prejudice?!………A public servant earning his living from tax dollars should know better to keep such views private…..once expressed publicly his ability to serve and protect all in his district (I’m sure more than a few “urban youth reside there) is called into question…………I predict he loses his job……..welcome to the private sector Captain (name here)!
3. With his attitude, it is doubtful that (name here) would perform his duties properly as a fireman, particularly in a situation where the burning building was occupied by African-Americans.
4. He should be fired NOW, with no benefits, and a note in his resume for future employers to consider.
5. free speech is afforded to every american but those comments are troubling because u are a fireman Sir. will u respond with the same urgency to a fire in a black neighborhood (with the ” welfare parents”) as u would to a white? the fact that ur comments put that in question… means u should not be in ur position.. be a private citizen working for a private corporation and say all the racist comments u want just not while u work for he fire department.
6. The Fireman only did one thing wrong..putting his thoughts on Face Book. HOW CLUELESS can you be after all the stories of people doing similar and losing their jobs. I worked with RCSTS but they didn’t go posting their thoughts on the internet. Good GAAD.
7. Any employer, whether private or public sector, has a right to terminate someone whose attitude runs counter to their job responsibilities; how could the Fire Department of Miami-Dade County expect this guy to do his job properly in the community with a large African American population (as well as other ethnic groups)????
8. Sometime the Truth Hurts. Nothing he said is wrong. Do you live in South Florida? Do you live in Miami-Dade County? Probably not. But I do. I am a Bail Bondsman to Miami Dade County. I can tell you it is full of horrible parents who milk the welfare system and could care less about their Children. Miami has some of the worst schools in the State and has some of the highest drop out rates. Welfare fraud is rampant in Dade and so is gang violence. Parent’s don’t care about their Children or their future. They allow them to run the streets like Thugs and than complain when someone treats them like a thug. Miami is literally He*l on Earth.
9. You have a first amendment right to throw your employer’s reputation away. And your employer has the right to investigate, suspend or fire you.
10. Mr. (name here) is entitled to his opinion. However, when you are the face of a public safety organization like the Miami-dade firefighter local 1403…your words have consequences. He should be suspended w/out pay or fired.
11. Code of Conduct from one county: I’ve read that a firefighter’s private life will behave in a manner that does not bring discredit to their agencies or themselves. A firefighter’s character and conduct while off duty must always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community, in which he/she lives and serves. The firefighter’s behavior must be beyond reproach’
12. I Bet (captain’s name here) is going try and hide behind free speech, and this was done off duty. When you choose to work in an occupation where you serve a diverse community you should be smart enough to know you can’t make such racist statements. He should not receive a pass for these comments. Just think this guy could one day respond to the home of Trayvons mother, what type of care would she get from someone with his views?
13. I also see that this POS doesn’t exist on FB anymore. If he was the tough loudmouth that he portrays himself to be he would have kept his profile up no matter what his superiors ordered him to do. This POS cannot be trusted to command blacks or any other minorities in the fire service because he is an out right racist! Fire his butt now!
14. this is a captain in your community for fire rescue since 1997…. Ask yourself…. How many black/brown families did he allow to die due to his warped sense of who ‘WE’ are?
15. Dismiss this clown, when you are serving the public, your facebook page is no longer a right to exercise free speech. Sorry, if you want to prance around and rant about black youths, work for yourself – not at the tax payers expense. It is just a matter of time before his happy arse is dismissed.
16. If only this jerk knew what he was talking about because if he did he would know that Ms Fulton (Trayvon’s Mom) holds a Master’s Degree and an administrative position in the same city he does. Fire his azz!
17. The Miami-Dade Firefighters should be ashamed that one of their own has embarrassed this noble profession and hurt the people that rely on their brave service- regardless of the color of the skin, mode of dress or parental decisions or non-decisions of members of the community.
What do you think?
And, btw, come back for Part 2 of “Employee’s Facebook Rant Sparks Nightmare for Employer.” In it, we’ll discuss some precautionary measures employers can take to help protect themselves in this day and age of social networking ramifications.