Marine Lieutenant Investigated Over Racist Social Media Posts

Permanent personnel Marines from The Basic School conduct a 10-mile hike on the west side of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on July 1, 2013. Lance Cpl. Cuong Le/Marine Corps
Permanent personnel Marines from The Basic School conduct a 10-mile hike on the west side of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on July 1, 2013. Lance Cpl. Cuong Le/Marine Corps

This article by Jeff Schogol originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

Yet another Marine is under investigation for posting racist material on social media -- the sixth known case for the Corps since 2018.

A Twitter user at Penn State University has posted images from 2nd Lt. Felippe Maher's Snapchat account, which showed Maher making racist comments.

The images, apparently posted to Maher's Snapchat story, were part of a series of photos and videos taken at a party where Maher and other attendees marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by eating fried chicken and watermelon.

The images include a picture of a mock zero dollar bill with President Barack Obama's face on it along with the caption, "My n---a Obama comin in deep wit dat welfare checc," and video of Maher getting a watermelon crown placed on his head with the caption, "I'm king n---a."

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Additionally, Task & Purpose found that Maher had posted a photo of himself on Facebook in December 2017 with the caption, "Gucci Goy." A Hebrew term typically used to denote non-Jews, "goy" is often used jokingly by white nationalists to refer to themselves.

The Twitter user also posted a picture of a man bearing a striking resemblance to Maher serving as a bodyguard for white supremacist Richard Spencer at a Nazi rally in Washington, D.C., though that photo could not be confirmed by Task & Purpose.

Maher, 23, is currently assigned to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, according to Training and Education Command.

A Marine Corps investigation into Maher has been completed, the command said in a statement to Task & Purpose.

"The investigation is under review by the chain of command for appropriate action," the statement says. "Marine commanders hold offenders accountable using the full array of administrative and punitive tools and authorities at their disposal. Every case is unique and decisions on how to address them are based on the judgment of commanders and the advice of their legal counsel."

Marines are not allowed to be part of extremist groups, and the Corps has a multi-layered screening effort to stop people with "deviant thinking and behavior" from enlisting or commissioning, including one-on-one interviews with applicants, analysis of potential Marines' tattoos, and strict observation by drill instructors, according to the statement.

However, Maher's story is far from unique. The Marine Corps confirmed this week that Lance Cpl. Cpl. Mason E. Mead is being discharged after admitting to "advocating supremacist ideology." Mead posted images on social media showing him in blackface, as well as explosives forming a swastika.

In a separate swastika incident, Pfc. Anthony D. Schroader was investigated after sending "Terminal Lance" creator and Marine veteran Maximilian Uriarte a picture of Marines forming the Nazi symbol with their boots. Uriarte who is Jewish, alerted Corps officials about it.

The investigation of Schroader is now complete and the matter is "currently with the Marine's commanding officer for final determination," Maj. Roger Hollenbeck, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve, said Wednesday.

No other Marines face possible disciplinary action because none of the others in the photo could be identified, and Schroader told investigators that he "did not remember their names," Hollenbeck said.

Last year, Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis was kicked out of the Marine Corps after he attacked a woman at the 2017 Neo Nazi "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

And two Marines were booted after being arrested at a 2017 pro-confederate rally, where they flew a white supremacist banner: Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning and Sgt. Michael Chesny.

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