After a video went viral of two Marines apparently wearing blackface last week, the U.S. Marine Corps has announced they are investigating.
Twitter user @sahluwal tweeted a video from Marine Zach Highfield’s Snapchat account on Feb. 23. In the viral clip, Highfield and another San Diego-based unidentified Marine, both uniformed, wear charcoal face masks, which @sahluwal described as “displaying his bigotry by wearing blackface in his military gear.”
The men put on their caps and Highfield salutes in the clip before the unidentified man behind him says, “Hello, monkey.”
The incident led to many calls on Twitter for Highfield and his comrade to be booted.
“They should be dishonorably discharged. They should never be allowed to handle a weapon again.”
“Kick them out.”
“Hope they get rid of him and his friend.”
“As a US Marine veteran I a disgusted. No honor to the corps. To America. Conduct unbecoming of a US Marine.”
By Monday, the Third Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Miramar Air Station, began a probe into the matter. However, they did not release details, including disclosing whether the men were based at Miramar.
“We are aware of this social media post,” spokesman Maj. Josef Patterson said in a statement Feb. 25. “An investigation has been initiated to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the content. 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,” Patterson added. “It would be inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing investigation.”
For his part, Highfield acknowledged that wearing the charcoal masks he said are meant to clear pores and making the video was not the best idea.
“It looks a lot worse than it is,” he told KPBS, noting he did not mean to post the footage and has heard from his command. “It was a bad mistake. We had no intention to offend.”
Highfield also acknowledged he takes full responsibility.
This is Zach Highfield, he’s a Marine who is proudly displaying his bigotry by wearing blackface in his military gear. The man behind him who says “hello monkey” hasn’t been identified yet. Care to comment on this racist behavior @USMC? pic.twitter.com/mKPLetFrYs
— Simar (@sahluwal) February 23, 2019