FDNY Firefighter Robert Keiley was working as a model when he posed for what he thought would be used for a run-of-the-mill fire-prevention ad.
Photo credit: Courtesy of The New York Post
The Post reported today that Keiley -- who joined New York's Bravest only in 2004 -- was working as a model when he posed for what he thought would be used for a run-of-the-mill fire-prevention ad.
The controversial ad that was pulled.
He appeared in generic firefighter gear and gripped a helmet for the shot -- not the photo of the destroyed Twin Towers that was "put" into his hands with Photoshop software for the Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern ad.
"It's an insult to the Fire Department. It's an insult to all the families who lost people that day," said Keiley, 34, an ex-cop who now works out of an engine company in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Keily had threatened to sue.
"It makes me look like I'm cashing in on 9/11, saying I was there even though I was never there, and that I'm sick and possibly suing, trying to get a chunk of money."
WTC-disaster law firm Worby Groner raised eyebrows in May when news surfaced that its lawyers were ready to take home a third or more of a settlement negotiated on behalf of sickened Ground Zero workers.
An angry federal judge said the arrangement gave too much money to the legal team and too little to sick workers -- and the firm reduced its fees.
Keiley told The Post that in one of his most painful moments since the ad surfaced, he had to call his best friend, whose brother died in 9/11, to tell him he had nothing to do with it.
The Photoshopped image debuted Wednesday on a flier at the World Police Fire Games Event Gala, a fund-raiser for the annual sporting event.
At the bottom, in tiny letters, the ad stated, "This is an actor portrayal of a potential Zadroga claimant," referring to sick Sept. 11 workers who could receive aid under the federal James Zadroga Act.
Keiley, who moonlights as an actor and model, posed for the photo a year ago and netted $350.