Gay skydiving instructor sues after being sacked for ‘groping woman’
A gay skydiving instructor is suing his company after he was sacked for allegedly groping a young female student.
Donald Zarda, 40, says there is “no way” the alleged incident could have happened because he is “100 per cent gay”.
The instructor, of Long Island, New York, was strapped to the woman, known only as Rosanna, while the pair did a tandem jump in June.
As they were tightly strapped together, he told her: “Don’t worry, I’m gay.”
She then complained to Mr Zarda’s boss at Skydive Long Island, Ray Maynard, who sacked the instructor for “inappropriate behaviour” and claimed that he had “touched” Rosanna in a way that made her feel uncomfortable.
Mr Zarda told the New York Post that the accusations were “bizarre”.
He said he was “100 per cent gay” and added: “So you’re accusing me – the gay guy – of touching the girl inappropriately? This situation is so bizarre.”
He said that it was usual for instructors to make risque jokes when strapped to students to dispel tension but said that the video of the jump – which he has not been able to watch – would clear his name.
Mr Maynard’s lawyer, Saul Zabell, says he knew of Mr Zarda’s sexuality and it was not a reason for sacking him.
Instead, he said the instructor was sacked for other incidents of inappropriate behaviour, although he would not state what.