Fallout From FDNY Commish's Son's Comments Continues

March 19, 2013
The shamed son of FDNY Commisioner Sal Cassano has been rebuked by not only his father, but the mayor and community members. He resigned and apologized for his comments.

The shamed son of FDNY Commisioner Sal Cassano quit his city EMT job yesterday and was publicly rebuked by his father for posting racist, anti-Semitic rants on Twitter.

Joseph Cassano, 23, had resigned by noon over the hateful tweets, which were revealed yesterday by The Post.

And about two hours later, Commissioner Cassano gave his son an old-school talking-to in a scathing public statement.

"I am extremely disappointed in the comments posted online by my son Joseph, which do not reflect the values - including a respect for all people - that are held by me, my family and the FDNY," the fire boss said.

"There is no place - and I have no tolerance - for statements that would harm the good reputation we enjoy due to our honorable service to all New Yorkers."

Later, the commissioner reiterated his disappointment.

"He is very remorseful. He resigned and he wants to move forward. Please respect our privacy," Sal Cassano said while leaving the Staten Island home he shares with his son.

In his Twitter posts, Joseph Cassano spared no one. He tweeted, "I like jews about as much as hitler," denounced Martin Luther King Jr., and judged women by the size of their breasts.

He also lambasted his $31,931-a-year EMT job - which sources said he took as a fast track to becoming a firefighter - as "the worst."

"Getting sick of picking up all these obama lovers and taking them to the hospital because their medicare pays for an ambulance and not a cab," the younger Cassano tweeted in February, just months into his new gig.

Mayor Bloomberg also blasted Joseph Cassano.

"I found the messages offensive," Bloomberg said. "He has chosen to resign from the Fire Department. I think that's the appropriate thing, and I'll leave it there."

Joseph Cassano also issued a long mea culpa yesterday, saying he took "full responsibility" for the comments.

"From the bottom of my heart, I'm truly sorry and I apologize for my offensive remarks. My intention was never to hurt anyone, or any group, and these tasteless comments do not reflect the person my parents raised me to be," Cassano said in a statement to CBS.

"I know my actions have hurt and disappointed many people, especially my family. I would like to move forward."

Mayoral hopeful and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called the tweets "outrageous and unacceptable."

"There's obviously no place for any attitude like that [in the FDNY]," Quinn said.

The tweets also infuriated the Vulcan Society, the city's black firefighters association, which recently won a federal lawsuit against the FDNY over minority hiring.

"If anyone at the FDNY doesn't like serving New York's diverse population, there are thousands of qualified minority candidates who would be happy to do so," said Vulcan Society President John Coombs.

The society's former president, Paul Washington, called the tweets "just one more episode in the long history of racism within the FDNY."

"One must wonder where Joseph Cassano, who apparently lives with his father, developed these shameful attitudes," Washington said. "It's easy to understand that these types of attitudes are pervasive throughout the FDNY."

Joseph Cassano - along with the sons of two other top FDNY brass - was hired by the city's EMS last October, according to his Twitter feed.

Joseph worked with EMS employees, about 40 percent of whom are minorities.

Some EMT and FDNY veterans yesterday scoffed at Joseph's resignation - noting that, because he wasn't disciplined by his bosses or fired, he can still try to join the FDNY in the future.

The FDNY did not respond when asked if that might be a possibility for the younger Cassano, who, as a boy, said he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps as a firefighter.

Joseph Cassano took down his Twitter account yesterday, and many of the pals he had shared his rants with had deactivated theirs or made them private.

Cassano's older sister, Theresa, who had initially tweeted in defense of her brother, also disappeared from Twitter.

In September, Theresa, a fifth-grade Catholic-school teacher, shared in one of Joseph's racist posts after he wished her well on her first day of the new year in her heavily minority school.

"Good luck today with all the little shwoogs ms cassano," Joseph tweeted from his account, @jcassano15, on Sept. 5 - using a derogatory term for black people.

His sister replied, "hahaha want to be my para?" referring to the para-professionals who back up teachers in classrooms.

"I wish I could but I would just sit there and make fun of the kids," Cassano responded, adding that the school principal, Joe Bollini - whose Twitter handle appeared in the post as well - "would fire me in 5 minutes."

Bollini then tweeted, "Stop it joe ur sister lasted this long at least give urself 20 mins."

Theresa Cassano yesterday insisted she was not making fun of her students and said she didn't know the word "shwoog" was a slur against blacks.

"It was a joke, a dumb exchange between a brother and sister," she said.

"I didn't mean anything by it. I love my school. I love my students, and would go to the end of the earth for them. For some of them, I'm the only thing they have."

Additional reporting by Antonio Antenucci and Reuven Fenton

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