Lieutenant Suspended After Anti-Semitic TikTok Joke

2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer has been removed from all leadership roles pending a probe
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2020 12:04 AM CDT
Army Officer Suspended After TikTok Joke About Concentration Camps
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / vasile voicu)

An Army officer stationed at Georgia's Fort Stewart has been removed from leadership positions after an anti-Semitic social media post. "For legal reasons this is a joke," 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer captioned the TikTok video, in which he told a joke involving Jewish people, the Holocaust, and incineration chambers at concentration camps. "If you get offended, get the [expletive] out, because it’s a joke," he said before signing off, along with a few other choice words. "The statements made in the video are not indicative of the values we live by, and there is no place for racism or bigotry in our Army or our country," a commander at the base says in a statement calling the video "vile."

Freihofer will remain suspended until an investigation is complete, Stars and Stripes reports. Army officials say the post violates the military branch's social media policy, and the Washington Post cites an official who says the probe will also investigate whether a hand gesture Freihofer used in the video was intended as a Nazi salute. "At the highest levels of command, this is being adjudicated," another Army official says. The Post notes Freihofer has almost 3 million TikTok followers, "an unusually large number for a young officer in the Army." "This is completely unacceptable. On social media or not, racist jokes are racist. Period," tweeted Army Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, the Army’s top enlisted soldier. (More antisemitism stories.)

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