FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - The creator of an online message board is speaking out after the Fairfax Fire Chief pushes for posts on the site to be taken down.
The Fairfax County Fire Chief lashed out on Friday at the owners of ‘Fairfax Underground’, a website where lewd and vile comments were posted about firefighter Nicole Mittendorf before she took her own life. It’s not clear if the comments on the board were the reason she took her own life but regardless the chief wants the posts removed.
During an interview with the administrator of ‘Fairfax Underground’ he explained that this is the second time this year that lewd comments were posted about a female Fairfax County firefighter and he thinks the problem is within the fire department, not his site.
In court documents that Fox 5 obtained, it shows that just three months ago, as part of an official police investigation, the ‘Fairfax Underground’ site administrators were asked to remove profane and indecent information written about a different female Fairfax County firefighter. The administrator of the site says rather than attacking him, its time the fire department looked within at the culture its creating.
Fairfax Fire Chief Richie Bowers blasted the people who post vile and vicious comments about people on the website saying, “we need to clean up this blog and people need to act right, I am appealing to person that hosts this site to take lewd comments down and turn the site off if people don't act right.”
Cary Wiedemann, the Curator of FairfaxUnderground.com responded to the chiefs comments in an interview saying, “this is clearly a deflection of blame. Fairfax Underground is a chalkboard or a bathroom stall. When someone write graffiti, you don't blame the chalkboard. You blame the author. It's pretty obvious this is Fairfax firefighter, seems to deflect blame off author onto the website.”
Chief Bowers says he was unaware of the bullying on the message board before Mittendorf's death and says since people post anonymously on the site he has no proof the lewd comments came from within his department.
But Wiedemann says these comments are part of a long thread with more than 2,000 posts on a variety of subjects, including the lewd comments about another female in the fire department. Police issued a court order in February asking him to remove those comments as part of an ongoing police investigation, “A couple months ago I was served a court order related to calling a female firefighter names, the post was removed.”
Wiedemann says he also deletes personal attacks when abuse reports are made, but he explained that never happened in connection with the Mittendorf comments. He says if her family asks, than he will delete the comments but he feels doing it now, amid all this controversy, feels like he would be covering up a problem, “my only interest is for the public to see the truth, the nasty truth. If you look at this thread it is pretty awful, there are a lot of things on there, not just about this poor woman, Ms. Mittendorf, a lot about female firefighters talking poorly, it looks like a culture of machoism.”
The department has launched an internal investigation into the posts about Mittendorf, her body and even her sex life. The chief says he hopes he can identify those responsible. Chief Bowers says he also has plans to write a letter to Wiedemann to ask him to remove the comments about Mittendorf.