Calif. chief under investigation for ‘demeaning’ firefighter video

Firefighters are calling the video a highly offensive sexual objectification of male firefighters

By FireRescue1 Staff

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Firefighters have filed two personnel complaints against the fire chief and city manager after a parody video was aired last month. 

The video was shown during a San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce dinner Jan. 20, reported the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The video, created by Fire Chief Garret Olsen includes an appearance by City Manager Katie Lichtig. 

Officials are now investigating the incident after several firefighters voiced their concern with the video. The video has since been taken down from YouTube.

“The video was meant to be self-deprecating, and I had no intention to disrespect anyone at all,” Chief Olson told the Tribune. 

The fire union released a statement on the video, asking for an independent investigation. 

“Members of Local 3523 are disturbed, sad and embarrassed that the highest-ranking city officials blatantly demeaned their chosen profession and believed it appropriate to sexually objectify city firefighters both publically [sic] at the chamber’s annual dinner and to circulate the video on the internet,” the union said. 

The six-minute video depicts Chief Olson speaking with a chamber employee who asked if he were bringing any shirtless firefighters to the dinner. “No, I’m probably going to be the only one, and I’m going to need to wear a shirt,” he  responds. 

The video later shows photos of anonymous shirtless male models before Lichtig and two other chamber members are shown donning shirts of faux naked male torsos.

Chief Olson and Lichtig have not been placed on administrative leave. 

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