Bart Hubbuch sues New York Post over Trump tweet termination

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The New York Post fired NFL reporter Bart Hubbuch after he posted a tweet criticizing the new President. Hubbuch has now taken a page from the Donald Trump playbook; Hubbuch has sued the Post.

The lawsuit, which was passed along to PFT by sports law attorney Daniel Wallach, alleges that the Post violated New York Labor Law Section 201-d, which makes it “unlawful for any employer . . . to discharge from employment . . . an individual . . . because of . . . an individual’s legal recreational activities outside work hours, off of the employer’s premises and without use of the employer’s equipment or other property.”

Hubbuch claims that he was fired after posting a tweet “on his own time, from his own computer, and from his own home” that compared the inauguration of President Trump to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 by listing the month, day, and year of the three occasions.

“Not known for its sensitivity,” the lawsuit alleges at Paragraph 3, “the Post regularly exploits tragedy, violence and death to sell news. It also pushes the bounds of what is considered appropriate news coverage.”

Also, Paragraph 4 repeats a past public remark from a Post supervisor that “[w]e like to be pirates.”

“In keeping with its tabloid style, the Post has sensationalized the actual or perceived the fault of democratically elected leaders by running covers showing them dressed up like tyrants responsible for murder, torture and repression,” Hubbuch alleges at Paragraph 5.

Even without that reputation or reality of the Post, the core allegation remains that Hubbuch made the remark “outside of work, on his own time, under his own name, in his own home, from his own Twitter feed, and without the use of any of the Post’s equipment or other property,” as explained in Paragraph 8.

Hubbuch further claims at Paragraph 13 that he was told he wouldn’t be fired if he apologized for the tweet, and he did apologize. He also compares his firing to the opinions expressed by the Post when ESPN fired Curt Schilling and apparently removed him from a documentary for sending controversial tweets, calling the former “petty and childish” and the latter “full[y] Stalinist.”

The lawsuit suggests that the decision to fire Hubbuch was “influenced by [Post owner Rupert] Murdoch’s interest in pleasing Trump and not upsetting him, now that Trump has the power to either directly benefit or harm Murdoch and 21st Century Fox.”

Although the Post will surely try to claim that the decision was motivated by other incidents of alleged misconduct, it’s clear from the statement provided by the Post to PFT last week that the Trump tweet was the trigger for the termination: “Mr. Hubbuch has engaged in a pattern of unprofessional conduct and exhibited serious lack of judgment, including most recently showing disrespect for the victims of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.”

Thus, this case will turn on whether Hubbuch’s conduct falls within the scope of the legal provision that protects employees against termination for engaging in “legal recreational activities outside work hours, off of the employer’s premises and without use of the employer’s equipment or other property.” If it does, he should win; if it doesn’t, he should lose.

If Hubbuch wins, he could get his job back. In addition to seeking an award of monetary damages, Hubbuch requests reinstatement to his position.

31 responses to “Bart Hubbuch sues New York Post over Trump tweet termination

  1. Welcome to Trump’s America. Much like his hero Putin, delegitimization of the press and its members is the first step in controlling the message.
    Fake news? Fake president is more like it.

  2. New York State is generally considered to be an “employment at will” state, which means that a private sector employer can pretty much hire and fire as he or she pleases and a discharged employee usually will have no legal recourse even when the discharge is unfair or unreasonable.

    The law “trumps” his lawsuit.

  3. Good for him. The righties sure love calling those that can’t take criticism “snowflakes” but they kiss the feet of the ultimate snowflake. The hypocrisy force is strong with them, it is.

  4. I bet the chances are low that he felt sad when Hank Williams lost the MNF singing gig after calling Obama and Biden “The Enemy.”

    Dude’s fired and he isn’t getting his job back, either. That road is already paved. Don’t be all mad and surprised when you find out it goes both ways.

  5. His defense seems to be that trashing the President is his “recreational activity.” Great testimony as to his mental stability.

  6. When I was trying to get something rolling as a Giants blogger, I checked facts with some established beat writers. Most were cordial. Ralph Vacchiano and Pat Traina among the best. Hubbuch stole a story idea and had it posted within an hour. To say I was not saddened to hear of his firing is an understatement. Karma.

  7. He should go work for the lying Ny Times. Dude used to be a writer for the Florida Times Union and most was glad to seem him gone. Terrible human with stupid stuff to say. I could go on about him but that hack sucks.

  8. Curt Schilling is basically out of the HOF for his social media postings. We have a jackass blasting Trump and the media gives him a high five. He will lose the suit.

  9. This is a hard case to find a hero in.

    Hubbuch is a nasty troll – especially on twitter. So I am slow to sympathy when I see something bad happen to him.

    But the Post are hardly saints either. And firing someone for their non-criminal personal behavior & political beliefs is a crappy, and often illegal thing to do.

    But a twitter account for a reporter is generally used to enhance their publicity value and advertise their work. So it isn’t a purely personal thing – it does have a professional angle to it.

  10. This is no different than the idiots from Duck Dynasty or Schilling’s idiotic remarks: You can say whatever you want, and your employer can fire you for it – period. NY is an at-will state. He’s not getting his job back. There may be a settlement, but it will be sealed.

    And I do not doubt that his assertion about Rupert Murdoch is accurate….but it doesn’t change anything.

    And for all of you MENSA candidates who have allowed themselves to be convinced that facts are lies, and that a free press is the enemy….be very careful what you wish for.

  11. Go get him, Hubbuch. Apparently they’re trying to limit free speech and freedom of the press. Everyone should be able to speak out about immature, vengeful, insecure, short-tempered idiots regardless of the office they hold. This is especially true if they’ve been put into office by less than half of the electorate. So sad.

  12. C’mon… he wasn’t fired for being anti-Trump, it was because he went too far by using victims of terrorist attacks to make his point.

    People were legitimately offended and called in to complain. If he were just railing against Trump not many would care.

  13. Americans may become divided by a man that’s elected, due to politics, but due to tragedy, the dark days of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 will always unite Americans… Just a really stupid and irrational comparison.

  14. “3. The provisions of subdivision two of this section shall not be
    deemed to protect activity which:

    a. creates a material conflict of interest related to the employer’s
    trade secrets, proprietary information or other proprietary or business

    Pretty sure a journalist would fall under exception. News papers have a proprietary interest in at least maintaining a facade of impartiality.

  15. This guys is the worst. He has tried to get people fired over disagreeing with him. Instant Karma

  16. I must say, calling someone an idiot or mentally unstable because they disagree with you is getting ridiculous. When you disagree with someone, it is time to listen and compromise something we clearly have issues doing these days.

    Now Hubbuch is not using trashing the President as his defense, he is using NY Law which states employees cannot be terminated for things they say or do outside of work. Also, the tweet, albeit maybe inconsiderate, was, as most of the NY Post is, satire. That is part of his defense as well.

    Although when I start to think about it, in the first 20 days or so, Trump, the republican controlled Senate and House, despite, in most cases, with most of Americans disagreeing with them, are seeking to remove 20 million from the ACA, 2.5 Million from Planned Parenthood, block hundreds or thousands of visas from nations not affiliated with terrorist activity in the US, abolish the EPA, the Department of Ed, and the EAC, build a wall (blocking those who are needed to build it from entering the country to do jobs that most Americans don’t want), befriend Putin who just lead a vote to decriminalize domestic violence, and pick fights with allies and enemies alike.

    Individually, these would all potential affect many more than were killed at Pearl Harbor or on 9/11. Perhaps Hubbuch has a point?

  17. When you allow journalistic integrity to die, you create the very conditions whereby someone like Hubbuch can be victimized.

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