US Army Chiefs Poised to Dismiss 2nd Lieutenant Whose Holocaust Joke Went Viral
An army lieutenant who joked about the Holocaust on social media app TikTok is facing discharge from the service following an official disciplinary probe into his conduct.
Second Lt. Nathan Freihofer drew nationwide condemnation on Aug. 28, 2020 when he posted a joke that asked “What’s a Jewish person’s favorite Pokemon character? Answer: Ash” — a reference to the extermination of Jewish inmates in the crematoria of Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
The post went viral, amassing Freihofer an extra 800,000 followers on TikTok.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla — the commander of the 18th Airborne Corps — recommended that Friehofer be removed from the army following a probe into his post, which was subsequently removed from the Chinese-owned online platform.
Freihofer was stripped of leadership roles within the 3rd Infantry Division, where he is a field artillery officer.
Kurilla found “Freihofer’s antisemitic statement on TikTok inconsistent with the values of Army service and inappropriate for anyone in a position of leadership over American soldiers,” Col. Joe Buccino, spokesperson for the 18th Airborne Corps, said in a statement on Monday. “As a result, last month, the Corps commander initiated the process of removing Freihofer from the Army.”
Freihofer has two weeks to present Kurilla with a final argument in his defense before he can be removed from uniform, Buccino said.