Mr Troina claims he was constantly ridiculed with homophobic slurs. Picture: iStock
Mr Troina claims he was constantly ridiculed with homophobic slurs. Picture: iStock

Firey pressured to ‘sleep with stripper’

THEY stripped him of his dignity.

A former probationary firefighter from Queens in the United States said his colleagues demanded he "have sex with a stripper" to prove his manhood, according to an explosive new federal discrimination claim against the Fire Department New York (FDNY).

The Post reported last year on Michael Troina's claims that members of Ladder Co. 1/Engine Co. 7 in Tribeca stomped on his bunker gear, smeared peanut butter on his car and superimposed his face on a picture of a crying baby.

He complained he was hazed on his first day in the Duane Street firehouse and savagely bullied on many occasions afterwards.

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Mr Troina's claim, which was filed on Saturday, alleges he "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."

Mr Troina said 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 a "faggot" and "loser", the suit claims.

Other abuse alleged in Manhattan court papers included:

• Being forced to "eat orange juice" with a fork from 12 different plates and then wash the plates;

• Being told "he could not do the job like the other white firefighters" because he is Hispanic;

• Being called a "closet homo";

• Being excluded from a firehouse volleyball outing, and was later denigrated with homophobic insults.

When Mr Troina arrived at work the following day, he witnessed a firefighter instructed to "do an impression of Troina".

The suit alleges Mr Troina told a lieutenant about the "degrading and discriminatory incident" but the supervisor told him it was "in good fun and to not take it too hard".

Mr Troina suffered "mental and emotional stress" due to the "constant discrimination and ridicule," the complaint alleges.

"At first I sloughed it off as 'I'm the new guy.' As it kept going on, it got worse," Troina told the Post last year.

Mr Troina, 24, was fired on December 21, 2016, just seven days before he would have completed probation.

The FDNY insists he was canned after a "failed evaluation".

The civil case, brought by lawyer Paul Liggieri, seeks unspecified damages. It names the city, the FDNY, nine firefighters, three lieutenants, two chiefs and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro as defendants.

 

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.



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