A puppet’s “anti-Semitic” remark talks a firefighter right out of his job

This may be the strangest case of early onset SMACSS (Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome) I’ve seen. Early onset, because it involves a recruit with the Rochester (NY) Fire Department who has been fired before his career has really started. He was let go for a YouTube video. While videos are a common cause of SMACSS. this one is different because it involves a puppet that made the offending remark labeled as anti-Semitic.


A recruit firefighter with the Rochester Fire Department has been fired over a YouTube video.

The Rochester Fire Department said the recruit made anti-semitic remarks on the video.

The department was made aware of the video Sunday night.  

James Johnson, Democrat & Chronicle:

Rochester Fire Department lieutenant Willie Jackson said during an unrelated press conference Monday morning that someone called Sunday night to point out the video’s existence and that the source of the remarks were being investigated.

“I’m a little disturbed by it, I teach diversity in the department,’’ Jackson said. “The fact that someone would post it disturbs me more.’’

Statement from Rochester Fire Department:

The Rochester Fire Department has terminated a Recruit Fire Fighter for failing to satisfactorily complete his probationary training term.  The recruit recently participated in an online video containing insensitive remarks.

The Rochester Fire Department is a well-respected, professional and inclusive organization.  Recruit Fire Fighters are trained to be professional at all times and to respect the diversity of their fellow Fire Fighters and all of the residents they are sworn to protect and serve.

“The actions of the recruit in question did not rise to the high standards set by the Rochester Fire Department, which prompted his termination under the terms of his probationary employment,” said James Smith, City of Rochester Director of Communications.

Since this matter is of a personnel nature, no further comment or statement will be issued.