Firefighter Fired Over Facebook Post of Virtual Firefighter Video

HATZEL VELA
WCSC 5
Reprinted with Permission

COLLETON COUNTY, SC - A Colleton County paramedic and firefighter was fired over a video he posted on Facebook.

On February 11, Jason Brown was called into the director's office and questioned about the video he posted the previous night.

The Facebook post takes you to a YouTube-like site, where a video almost three minutes in length shows an exchange between two cartoon characters at a hospital.

One is a doctor, the other a paramedic.

In a letter of dismissal Brown provided, Colleton County Fire-Rescue Director Barry McRoy said, "You [Brown] displayed poor judgment in producing a derogatory video depicting a member of this department with a physician which is implied to be at Colleton Medical Center."

"There was no malicious attack to anybody involved personally or countywide or any certain department ever," said Brown, who spent two hours making what he described as a text-to-movie video.

On the web site xtranormal.com, you can create characters and even make them look like you. Users can type in a script and the cartoon-like character will say what you write.

"I'm not trying to make any doctor or any nurse look stupid," Brown said.

He said he wasn't even talking about Colleton Medical. He only used the name of a doctor who works at that hospital because he had recently seen him at a party.

It was supposed to be a funny, exaggerated and an almost unbelievable story of real life on-the-job experiences, Brown said.

"It's just general things that go on in the day-to-day business of us running calls within any fire department, any EMS," he added.

The dismissal letter also said, "This video has created an embarrassing situation for this department, our public image and the cooperative relationship we enjoy with Colleton Medical Center. It reflects poorly on you and Colleton County."

Brown appealed the decision, but his appeal was denied.

[See the rejection of appeal letter (pdf).]

Brown never meant any harm, he said.

"If I knew it was going to give me this much headache, I never would have made it in the first place," he added.

Brown said he was told his video was racist because the cartoon character playing the doctor role was African-American and during one of the exchanges the character said, "I don't want to lose my job and go back to being a janitor."

"That was never, ever in my actions or even thoughts when I made the video," Brown said.

When making the video, a black doctor was the only option offered, he added.

Getting fired was a little overboard, he said.

McRoy wouldn't give details about the Brown's firing because he said he couldn't discuss personnel matters.

But he said the Facebook incident wasn't the only reason Brown was fired.

Brown said he has never been seriously reprimanded and points to the dismissal letter as proof the Facebook post was the only reason he was fired.

If asked to take down the post, he would have done it and that would have been the end, he said.

Brown said after he was fired, he was escorted to the station where he returned all his gear, while two officers supervised him.

"I felt like a criminal," he said.

Prior to working at Colleton County Fire-Rescue for three and a half years, he worked at Berkeley County EMS and Goose Creek City Fire.

He said he left those two places because Colleton County paid more.

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I can't believe he got fired for this!
Unbelievable!!!
They need to get a sense of humor! The only criminals are the one's you fired Jason Brown!

Jason, You now DOUBLE qualify for Free tickets to my Las Vegas show (Firefighter AND Unemployed).
Some one has a rather large ego....
I smell lawsuit
OMG! HE has a lawsuit for sure! FREEDOM OF SPEECH!
I can not delieve they fired him over a something that had nothing to do with his job. Its not live he did it on dept. time. I small a law suit that they might not win, i don't think they have good ground to stand-on.
I wish you the best of luck!
What a joke. After reading the article, then watching the video, I don't see how anyone could associate this with their employees or department. Sounds like a tad bit of over-sensitivity to me.

By the way, that's not a doctor. It's a black Colonel Sanders.
I'm a union firefighter in the northeast and unless you're convicted of a felony, there really is no real way to lose your job , especially when an "infraction" falls OUTSIDE of your job-related duties.

These jackasses are staring down the barrel of a free speech lawsuit. Put aside the fact that these animations are SATIRE, put aside the fact that he did it on his off duty time (we'll assume), put aside the fact that there was no slander of any doctor (was he identified by 1st AND last name?). The bottom line is that when we raised our hand to take the oath we didn't sign away our constitutional rights to freedom of expression. I hope this firefighter/emt sues the balls off the town that fired him. Perhaps an organizing drive for the IAFF and electing of collective bargaining-friendly pols is what his Colleton County needs.

On the other hand...be careful what you write on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or text to movie sites. You can still be funny and not be specific in names of institutions or individuals.
This sounds very possible to me. The doctors are not the gods they think they are. Maybe the hospital should be investigating whether this is founded or not instead of raising such a fuss. What has this world come too? Now they are in our private lives? I hope this firefighter sues & gets compensated or their job back. Very poor example of management, but very typical nowdays! Real kneejerk reaction.
Well I'm not a rocket scientist or even a doctor and I'm certainly am not the powers to be of Colleton County Fire -Rescue but, I am a Fire Fighter who has been around the ridges for some time. And unless there is other reasons why Brown was fired then it appears his Department where looking for a excuse to drop kick him. May be his Department heads should look as there man management skills along with what this may cost the County in dollars. The County may also want to look at the bad decission of their Department heads and weigh up their value to the County. I certainly would
Cha-Ching... Cha-Ching, I would be suprised if he has not been contacted by numerous attorneys with a nose for $. Your First Amendment or any other Constitutional right will always trumph your departments SOG's, or Rules & Regs as long as National Security is not at stake.
you have got to be kidding Colleton County .. You fired a competent medic for this ?? I think he should sue the bejezzus out of that county and then send the facebook submission to Saturday Night Live asking for a job in their writers' bank ..
BS ... sounds like what goes on at every hospital.. and hes not black.. he's from the land of "would you like a slushy?" and really it takes 2 cops to help him return his gear, here is the email to colleton, let our opinion be known and help him get his job back!!!
mailto: info@colletonfire.com

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