Thomas Buttaro, a Brooklyn firefighter who has been on the job since 1988, was fired this week after repeatedly wearing anti-affirmative actions shirts.
New York Daily News reported Buttaro, who is white, was fired following a recommendation from an administrative court judge that he be removed from his post for “malicious actions that were in the firehouse intended to harm and humiliate a fellow firefighter” and discriminatory actions.
On the job, Buttaro wore shirts with slogans like “Merit Matters,” referring to a group opposed to giving minorities an advantage, and “MADD — Minorities Against Dumbing Down.”
“He was creating a hostile work environment in the firehouse,” a source told the New York Daily News.
Buttaro maintains he didn’t do anything wrong. “Our attire, off-duty to and from work, has never been regulated,” he said.
“Rules are that at work, you have to be in proper attire. Our locker room is on the second floor. We have to be in proper attire by roll call. Not before, not when you get to work, not when you leave.”
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed Buttaro had been terminated.
“You’re supposed to respect differences of opinion,” Buttaro said. “You can’t just say you’re offended ... it deflects a discussion.”
Buttaro’s termination follows a 2011 federal court ruling that the FDNY and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg intentionally discriminated against minority applicants.