Published November 19, 2012
A New York City firefighter is reportedly claiming he’s being ostracized by his colleagues because he has become a vegetarian.
The New York Post reports that Anthony Harper, 42, an eight-year veteran, decided to change his diet about two years ago and began refusing to help pay for or share in the communal meals at his Brooklyn firehouse.
“It seemed that every single meal there was a meat dish,” he told the newspaper. “It was always chicken and red meat.”
Harper claims his problems began when fellow firefighters started to criticize his dinner choices. But the harassment grew to the point where he became a pariah who was regularly given dangerous assignments on the roofs of burning buildings and threatened with physical violence, he said.
One colleague, Harper said, head-butted him during a petty dispute about looking at a roster. When he complained, he was reassigned from Ladder 146 in Greenpoint to the department’s headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn, he said.
Despite being more physically fit than he’s been in years, Harper said he’s been left to vegetate. All he does now is push buttons on a computer to print out medical forms, he told the newspaper.
Fire officials, meanwhile, have denied his claims.
“The idea that Firefighter Harper has been in any way harassed or bothered because he’s a vegetarian is nonsense,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long said. “Firehouses across the city have individuals who are vegetarians or who have special diets — i.e., food allergies, etc. — and they are accommodated all the time.”