Mistrial scuppers firefighters claims of ‘sex harassment’ at Pride

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A jury in San Diego has been unable to decide whether or not to the city of San Diego was liable to pay damages to four firefighters who claim they were sexually harassed at a Pride parade they were compelled to take part in.

After nearly four days of deliberation, the jury announced a deadlock and a mistrial was declared yesterday.

The firefighters’ lawyer, Charles Limandri, said that he will see a new trial.  Last week he claimed his clients should receive at least $1 million (£552,550) in compensation.

John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison claim that they were subjected to hostile language and sexually explicit acts as they followed an order to attend the Pride parade last year.

The fire fighters said that along the parade route, they were subjected to offensive and lewd comments such as “you can put out my fire,” and saw men blowing kisses at them.

Then they had to endure protesters who yelled at them that homosexuality was a sin.

“I was forced into a situation that would compromise what I hold true and what I believe in,” engineer Jason Hewitt said in a statement, according to 10news.com.

Maria Severson, Chief Deputy City Attorney, had said that the city authorities must treat all people equally, and that it was part of the firefighters’ jobs to be present at the parade.

Ms Severson said that there had been no other complaints that the event had created a hostile environment, and even claimed that the firefighters had been treated like “rock stars” for most of their time there.

She also claimed that the complaint of sexual harassment was void as the firefighters had not been physically touched or threatened with such treatment.