From the Department Of Fired For Being Gay, which most recently claimed student teacher Seth Stambaugh in Oregon, comes Long Island skydiving instructor Donald Zarda. He was just axed after a female client complained that during their tandem descent from many thousands of feet in the air, he touched her in a no-no-way.
For telling his elementary students he’s gay, Stambaugh was informed his comments were “inappropriate.” For telling the skydiving client (identified only as Rosanna) he’s gay, Zarda was accused of “inappropriate behavior.”
Donald Zarda was strapped tightly to the woman, identified only as Rosanna, as they floated to earth in a tandem jump June 18, when he told her, “Don’t worry, I’m gay.” Rosanna complained to his then-boss at Skydive Long Island in Calverton, Ray Maynard. Zarda says Maynard accused him of “inappropriate behavior” and also said he had touched the student “in a way that made her uncomfortable.”
But the skydiver scoffs at the allegation he had fondled the woman. “I’m 100 percent gay,” Zarda told The Post. “So, you’re accusing me — the gay guy — of touching the girl inappropriately? The situation is so bizarre.” He claims all the instructors routinely joke with customers about the awkwardness of a stranger being strapped to their backs, including raunchy sexual references.
Now Zarda, who says his ex-boss Maynard won’t let him review the tapes of their jump (that’s what discovery is for!), can’t get a gig at another skydiving company because of the complaint. Except Maynard’s attorney says Zarda’s sexuality wasn’t why he was fired; “He was terminated for inappropriate behavior in the workplace” and there was “more than one single incident” that resulted in his ouster.
If Zarda made completely offensive remarks to his client? Or unnecessarily groped Rosanna? Fine, fire him. But having been skydiving before, strapped to the front of a brawny fella, I know first-hand some innocent sexual humor lightens the mood. And I also know being securely fastened to the guy who knows what he’s doing (i.e. opening the chute, steering us to safety) helps ensure I survive the fall.
[photo via Facebook]