A petition supporting an Australian firefighter who told Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "get f***ed" in an on-camera rant has been taken down after a Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesperson rubbished the claims that the firefighter faced dismissal.
As of Monday, the Change.org petition campaigning against the alleged sacking of firefighter Paul Parker had amassed more than 35,000 signatures. On Tuesday, the petition was removed.
Parker, a New South Wales (NSW) RFS firefighter, went viral after he addressed Morrison in an expletive-ridden, on-camera rant.
"Tell the Prime Minister to go and get f***ed from Nelligen," the visibly exhausted 57-year-old said to the 7 News camera after battling a blaze that decimated several properties.
Parker was later captured collapsed on the roadside, but mustered enough energy to continue abusing Morrison.
"That's how much we enjoy it mate - putting our lives at risk," Parked said, referencing Morrison's controversial claim that firefighters "wanted to be out there".
"I do it for my local community, I do it for the township of Nelligen and the people of Australia... I don't do it for you Scott Morrison, I don't do it for any of you p****s in government," he continued.
Despite rumours that Parker was to be dismissed for his behaviour, a spokesperson confirmed on Monday that he had only been asked to "take a break".
"It was for his own welfare that he was asked to take a break," the spokesperson confirmed on Monday, claiming he believed Parker was suffering from fatigue.
"As soon [the petition] was spotted yesterday morning, we took steps to verify the information presented. We also installed a warning banner on the petition that [its] statements may be contested," Change.org campaigns director Nic Holas told 7 News.
"While Change.org is an open platform, we do have policies in place to address issues of hate speech, bullying, fake news and misinformation."
The petition claimed that Parker was "facing dismissal from the RFS" after "working for days with little sleep and little food to save strangers' properties, selflessly putting himself in harm's way".