Brevard County firefighter under investigation over blackface photo

Jake Johnson pictured in blackface at Halloween party, officials say

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County firefighter is under investigation after a picture of him in blackface surfaced on social media, county government officials said.

Don Walker, the county’s communications director, confirmed that one of the people in the photo is Jake Johnson, who works at Brevard Fire Rescue Station 63 in Indialantic.

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The image, featuring two men and a woman, was taken at a Halloween party on Oct. 30 with the caption, “Yes, Denzel Washington and O.J. Simpson showed up to our party.”

Walker said the county attorney and human resources department have been consulted in reference to the incident.

In a statement to News 6, the woman in the image, who posted it on social media, claimed she did not know the term “blackface” until a friend notified her after posting the picture. She said after learning about the history of the term, she deleted the post.

“I apologize for my ignorance in the post which offended people. I would never belittle someone or post content that targets another person,” she said.

News 6 has made several attempts to contact Johnson but has not been successful.

A Brevard County official said Johnson is believed to be on vacation.

“I was completely shocked, disgusted. And every single person I shared that photo with has had the exact same reaction,” said Michele Spradley, a Brevard County woman who shared the image on social media before it was removed.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.