In the wake of the controversial Gillette ad against ” toxic masculinity,” a fire station in Sydney, Australia, decided to send a message of its own on the subject.
The Newtown branch of NSW Fire and Rescue did so by updating a sign in front of the department that read, “House fires are toxic; our masculinity isn’t.”
But then shortly after the message went up, it was taken down. According to SBS News, a fire and rescue spokesman told News Corp the updated sign was “not considered appropriate.”
Firefighters told to not get political in backlash at Sydney fire station . pic.twitter.com/A5BvK08bVO
— magaman (@magaman06854717) January 17, 2019
And with that, observers who loved the message were upset, pleading with the fire department to not succumb to pressure:
- “STOP apologizing,” one Twitter user wrote. “Push back against this idiotic feminist narrative. Stop letting a loud minority dictate how the rest of us behave and feel.”
- “That Sydney Fire Station shouldn’t have to apologize,” another noted. “They’re completely correct.”
Others posted messages on the fire station’s Facebook page, saying the sign was OK with them:
- “Thank you MEN for your sign defending MEN! From Canada WE SALUTE YOU!! I’m sorry you were ‘made’ to apologize. Dang em for making you do that.”
- “You shouldn’t have apologized. You said nothing offensive.”
- “I really supported your humorous and witty fire sign message. Agree that fires are toxic and masculinity isn’t. However I agree that radical feminism is a lot more toxic than mere fires.”
- “Don’t every apologize for being the kind of people who can get the job done. Nothing wrong with a man being a man, especially a fire fighter.”
- “There is no such thing as toxic masculinity. Thank you for all you do, and for being YOU, and don’t ever apologize for it.”
- “Thanks for putting up that sign the other day. Yes agree Fires are Toxic but Masculinity isn’t. Radical feminism is toxic … along with people who don’t have [your] sense of humor. Leave the witches to burn. Never apologize for having a sense of humor.”
- You had it right the first time and here is why. Don’t cave in to emasculated #sjw #npc #pc #virtuesignalling — when the s**t hits the fan the world needs strong alpha chads like you boys.”
- “Being proud of your masculinity is nothing to be ashamed of fellas.”
What did the fire station have to say?
The fire station told SBS News the sign wasn’t a response to the Gillette ad but actually a statement against toxic masculinity.
“We strive to provide a safe non-toxic work environment that all people can feel safe in,” the station said in a statement, the outlet reported. “We simply were stating that we don’t promote or practice toxic masculinity.”
The station added to SBS News that they make an effort to be “proud men” by helping others.
“This may be achieved in many ways: [by] being inclusive, standing up for minorities, standing for those less fortunate, standing against bullying and unfair labels,” the station said.
The fire station added that the message on the updated sign “was for people concerned that there is way too much toxic [sic] out there. To show that there are groups that fight it.”
It’s worth pointing out that the Newtown Fire Station is known for placing humorous, witty public service messages outside its building, along with some social commentary: