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US war veteran sacked for gay slur while defending gay soldiers

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  1. and i guess… he was sacked not because of the word he said, but something else.

  2. Political correctness run amuck! Aside from being unfair this is EXACTLY the sort of PC BS that causes moderate Str8s to think ‘gosh, the queers ARE getting out of hand’.

    This man should be reinstated and given formal apology ASAP.

  3. Well, that’s only a guess, Ian. If Pink News actually knew how to write a decent article maybe we would know.

  4. I laughed but hes wrong if he said the n word they be no discussion.

    1. Staircase2 9 Mar 2011, 4:37pm

      well even then there should have been a discussion

      ignorance is just that ‘not knowing’ – how can we expect someone to know something if we dont have a conversation with them about it in the first place?

  5. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 11:29am

    I think this is a step too far. I’m sure we all know someone of that generation who whilst saying something with all the good intentions use language that was prehaps acceptable in their day but no longer is today.

    I’m sure with a little explaining he could have seen that terms and languages have changed.

    We need to see this for what it was and how it was meant. I do feel for the man. He should not have lost his job.13

  6. @John, he should not be given an apology. After all, the terminology used was both derogatory and offensive, but I am inclined to agree that his intention was to highlight his support for homosexual equality within the armed forces, by demonstrating that homosexual soldiers are not defined by their sexuality and equal in strength on the battle field as their heterosexual peers.

    Maybe he should be educated as to the correct and acceptable terms for homosexuals – although after 82 years of using derogatory terms that were once accepted as main stream descriptives this may be a difficult task to achieve.

    1. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 12:08pm

      Whose to say what terms and language commonly used today may be acceptable in 30 – 40 years. Things change lets hope we can all keep up with changing times.

      Having said that the latter half of the 20th Century probably had more changes with society and culture acceptance, so understandable that some find it difficult.

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  8. Though I think it was harsh to sack him, I don’t think he should be given an apology for what is purely a derogatory slur and that would apply to any minority. He needs to improve his limited vocabulary.

  9. You know what..sheer ignorance isn’t spite.

  10. I think sacking him is a bit harsh a simple meeting to explain to him how people could find what he said offensive would have been sufficient.

  11. hopefully…dont address all the gay’s..they cant go where ever they want…and also dont say the word sacked…people use the word sacked…he/she go to the world that they never see a gay…

  12. Rufus Red 9 Mar 2011, 2:02pm

    Hello everyone. For me, james! hit the nail right. If he’d said the ‘n’ word – see? I daren’t even write it here because of the censors – there’d be no issue. So good, turf him out. And by the way, PinkNews, one appeals AGAINST a sacking. The whole article revolves around the importance of words, so kindly get the grammar right.

  13. Couldn’t he have just got a slap on the wrist? Sacking is a bit far.

  14. I worked with AA for 13 years and here in the UK it was not quite such a PC company.
    It was not until a significant proportion of employess were gay, and they stood their ground, that things changed.
    There were still (2003) some die hards in the HQ in Dallas that were very old school about such things.
    I think it is a pity this man was fired and we don’t know the exact context the word was used in.
    In the privacy of our own home my partner and I use all sorts of names between ourselves – faggot being among the more mild!

  15. Angela S. 9 Mar 2011, 2:43pm

    I fully agree with John and Jock S.!
    This is PC gone mad!

    Looks to me he used terminology in the context of the time, which I think certainly can be used to make a point in something not being right by someone from the LGBTQI ‘community’, but which is not smart for someone outside to use at any time.

    I guess I rather have this man in my friends ring, than those who are against him..
    I would somehow expect him to stand up for my rights at any time, which I simply would not expect from many in our LGBTQI ‘community’!

    1. Staircase2 9 Mar 2011, 4:42pm

      agreed
      (although this whole ‘PC gone mad’ bollocks has to stop!)

      Its not ‘politically correct’ to sack someone for using the word ‘faggot’ in that context – its managerial incompetency

      If he had used the word as a quotation as Angela is suggesting then they wouldnt have a leg to stand on

      (personally, from the facts as given here, I dont think they do)

  16. I feel sorry for him. He supports us. Just because his terminology was off is no right to sack the guy.

    Why not simply say to him you can’t call people a fag even garnering as it can be upsettig. Why not educate people instead of demonising them.

  17. FFSake, the man was being ironic! Are well all as dumbly literal and humourless as American Airlines?
    Irony= the use of words to convey a meaning different from and often the opposite of their literal meaning.
    Translation: you call ‘em faggots, but they’re the equal of any str8 guy.

  18. The decision was wrong.
    He’s an old fella, i love my grandad, but he is pretty darned racist in his language, but thats because he grew up in a time where it was ok to say things like that. Is mark Twain a racist for using the word n*gger? of course not.

    Same for this guy, he was showing a remarkable degree of acceptance, and he sounds like he wouldnt use the word if someone spoke to him about it.

    So if i was the judge – not guilty.

    1. Scott age is no excuse for ignorance and hatred thats what racism is you know. And when mark twian used the word n*gger black men, women and children were being hung from trees for fun. You’re showing a remarkable amount of ignorance and I’m showing a remarkable amount of restraint go an get an education before you make any more ill informed comments

        1. Staircase2 9 Mar 2011, 4:59pm

          yes – horrific

          its important to remember that the word ‘ni**er’ was not the pivotal reason for these barbaric acts though – rather it was the prevailing attitudes that saw black people as property that were the problem. (which in turn werent created out of racism but out of financial and corporate greed)

          If anything racism was created and then used as a tool to justify the unjustifiable – namely stealing people from their own land and enslaving them in order to create a free workforce for the financial benefit of others

        2. Staircase2 9 Mar 2011, 5:01pm

          So! back to the word ‘faggot’!:

      1. James first off calm down, disagreeing with you does not mean Im a bad or stupid person.
        - Mark twain used the term n*gger as it was how people of his generation referred to black people, he was also one of the most enlightened anti racists of his time. So to accuse him of racism due to his beliefs would be anachronistic.

        I agree there is no excuse for hatred, but language doesnt always = hatred it is intent. As I said my Granddad always referred to the irish as “micks” and black people as w-o-g-s. But he said things like this – “I dont get people’s problems with the w-o-g-s , bill next door is from carribbean and hes a bloody lovely fella, there food is a bit smelly tho”. When he grew up that is how people referred to black people. Despite how many times we told him it was offensive, he couldnt understand it, for him racism meant being mean to someone because of their skin colour, not using words your school teacher said.
        Age isnt an excuse, but it is an understandable reason.

  19. Dan Filson 9 Mar 2011, 4:12pm

    This is sad – I wonder if American Airlines wanted to get him off their payroll anyway. What’s easy to forget is that millions of Americans joined up after Pearl Harbour and a load of them were, or found they were, gay. They served in the battlefields of the Pacific and the European theatre of operations and, like this guy said, could have saved the life of the guy next to them. He was right to stand up for gays and it is deplorable that a mis-speaking of language is held against him. Context and tone are key.

    1. I couldn’t agree more!

    2. TheSuburban Bi 9 Mar 2011, 7:19pm

      You’re right, Dan Filson. And I took his comments in the ‘shocked into right thinking’ strain of talking that a lot of trainers use when doing their job. As in, “You may call them fa**ots but a fa**ot could save your life” — and that is exactly the spirit and context in which it was spoken. And, yes, to answer those who like to bring race into it: if he said something along the lines of “You may call them ni**ers but a ni**er could save your life” I’d still say the same thing. The airline was wrong.

  20. Can we say double standard! My apologies as a gay man to the straight community. That word and other “derogatory” ones are used freely, constantly without horrible consequences all the time in the gay community in lighthearted ways, while ribbing friends, etc. without any fear of being insensitive or biggoted. But God forbid that a straight person dare speak these words. Let the poor guy be.

  21. Interesting to note that most Pink News pages have an ad stating “You can be a Queer Candy”… !

  22. SilenceIsGolden 9 Mar 2011, 9:11pm

    Why is nobody commenting on the fact that this man is 82 and still working as an employee?! If getting sacked means that he won’t receive his hard earned (if by nothing else but endurance!!) pension, then shame on AA.

  23. American Airlines is about to enter in to a business agreement that would bring government-owned Qatar Airways to the very same terminal that Mr. Schmitt worked for over a half century. While American may claim that their sacking was to maintain a “hate” free work environment it has ZERO problems accepting money from an air carrier that forbids it’s own employees from living the lifestyle that they want to openly live. It is no secret that citizens of Qatar may not publicly exhibit any open signs of a LGBT lifestyle. As a co-worker of Fred I ask you all for your opinion on whether or not there is a double standard here? Fred’s statement was never intended a a derogatory one. There was no hatred. A poor choice of a word? Yes. but his sacking was probably more age-related. I state this based on the clear fact that from a business perspective, American Airlines management at JFK airport has no issues whatsoever accepting money from government-owned Qatar Airways.

    1. I had suspected that saving a few bucks by cheating Mr. Schmitt out of his health benefits was AA’s likely motive in this.

      I also wonder if the supervisor who censored this gentleman is against the repeal of DADT and decided to punish Fred for his approval of gays serving in the military.

      Regardless, the man is a veteran who has earned a break via his front line service IMO.

  24. Apparently its ok for american gay men to refer to each other or themselves as “fags” (all very tongue in cheek you understand) yet anyone straight “caught out” using the word is practically lynched even when their intentions are good. Ridiculous. This is going to start getting very tired soon.

    1. It might be tired, but it’s absolutely no different from the way some American black people call each other “nigga”, or some Australians of Mediteranean origin refer to each other as “w0gs”. Many minorities have for some time reserved the right to use negative terms ironically within a group, it does not licence others to do so, nor does it lessen the words’ impact in a different context.

  25. A ridiculous over-reaction. Context is all. if he had used this word as part of a general pattern of demonstrably homophobic behaviour his dismissal would be justified. If the guy is generally homofriendly then challenging his language (which is offensive) is surely enough. American Airlines has just made itself look obsessive and illiberal and done us no favours.

  26. Update?

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