Now it’s the Marine Corps that’s embroiled in an episode of blackface.
The Marines have confirmed opening an investigation into an incident in which two men in Marine Corps uniforms appear on a video posted on social media wearing black masks with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth. One of them is heard saying, “Blackface’’ and “Hello, monkey.’’
The use of blackface, considered racist and demeaning, was at that center of controversies that rocked the political establishment in Virginia in early February and forced Florida’s Secretary of State to resign in late January.
A spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) confirmed the ongoing investigation and said in a statement e-mailed to USA TODAY:
“Our leaders are committed to maintaining an environment of professionalism, dignity, and respect. 3rd MAW takes all allegations of discriminatory behavior very seriously as they stand in stark contrast of our core values of honor, courage, and commitment and do not reflect the discipline and professionalism of the Marines and Sailors of 3rd MAW.’’
The spokesperson declined to answer questions or comment further.
The 14-second video, which was first posted on Snapchat before getting reposted on Twitter, initially shows a smiling white man wearing a camouflage uniform.
The clip, which has been viewed more than 245,000 times, then cuts to two people wearing fatigues and masks. The one standing behind initially says, “Blackface,’’ and the one in front follows by putting on a hat, saluting and saying, “Good morning, sir.’’ The one behind then says, “Hello, monkey.’’
The Marine Times, a publication that serves active and inactive Marine Corps personnel and their families, said this is the third incident of alleged bigotry among current or former Marines documented in February.
The Times reported that a Marine based in Hawaii was exposed over the weekend for posting anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi propaganda on Twitter, including a photo of explosive devices arranged in the shape of a swastika. The postings are being investigated.
On Feb. 15, Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, a former Marine, was arrested on drug and gun charges. Investigators believe the 30-year veteran of the U.S. military is a white nationalist who had designs on launching a domestic terror attack.