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New York firefighter ‘branded a faggot for refusing to have sex with stripper’

Sebastian Mann May 15, 2018
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NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 08: A New York Fire Department truck leaves the scene after responding to a fire at Trump Tower, January 8, 2018 in New York City. An electrical fire related to the building's HVAC system broke out on the roof of the 58 floor building. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A former New York firefighter has claimed colleagues labelled him a faggot after he refused to sleep with a stripper.

Michael Troina alleges he was subjected to a cruel campaign of harassment during his time at the New York Fire Department (FDNY), which included homophobic bullying.

In a discrimination lawsuit, seen by the New York Post, he says that as a trainee firefighter colleagues stamped on his equipment, superimposed his face onto a crying baby and called him a “closet homo.”

OJAI, CA - DECEMBER 09: Firefighters use drip torches to set a backfire at night in an effort to make progress against the Thomas Fire before the winds return with the daylight near Lake Casitas on December 9, 2017 near Ojai, California. Strong Santa Ana winds have been feeding major wildfires all week, destroying hundreds of houses and forcing tens of thousands of people to stay away from their homes. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Troina says his colleagues “tried to coerce” him go to a strip club and “regularly harassed him by encouraging him to have sex with a stripper.”

When he refused, he was called “faggot” and “loser,” the suit claims.

Related: Guns N’ Roses ‘faggot’ track cut from album reissue

The court filing alleges: “[Troina] was singled out time and time again on account of his race and national origin as a Hispanic American male as well as perceived homosexuality … [and] was further threatened with physical violence if he dared to report any incident of battery, harassment or discrimination to the FDNY’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office.”

Troina, 24, was fired on December 21, 2016, a week before he was due to complete his probation. The FDNY says he failed an evaluation.

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The harassment, said to have begun as initiation or “hazing,” also allegedly included Troina being forced to “eat orange juice” with a fork and being told that “he could not do the job like the other white firefighters” because he was Hispanic.

According to the New York Post, the suit claims Troina suffered emotionally from the “constant discrimination and ridicule” which continued even though he complained to a superior who told him it was “in good fun.”

He told the newspaper last year: “At first I sloughed it off as ‘I’m the new guy.’ As it kept going on, it got worse.”

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and was filed on Saturday, is being brought against the City of New York, the FDNY and several of its staff.

Related topics: Employment, Homophobia, New York, United States, US

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