DETROIT (WSVN) — A firefighter in Detroit lost his job on his first day at work after he brought a watermelon to the fire station as a gift. It was a move seen as “racially offensive.”
Even though 41-year-old Robert Pattinson insisted it was not a joke gift, nor was it meant to be offensive, he lost his job.
Now Pattinson is getting a big show of support from his fellow fire academy classmates.
“Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” wrote Tadarius Spearman. “And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans and that’s all that needs to be said. Stay up brother. #DFD.”
Pattinson was fired after African-American firefighters at his new station were offended by the watermelon. Fire Commissioner Eric Jones discharged Pattinson, saying the watermelon gift amounted to discriminatory behavior at a station where 90 percent of the workers are black.
“On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department,” Jones wrote in a statement to Fox 2 Detroit. “After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.”
Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.