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Culture Beat / Dec. 11, 2017

Hate Crime Hoax Hits U.S. Navy

A sailor posted pictures of racist slurs in his rack aboard a carrier, but the Navy found he did it himself.

Another hate crime hoax hits the military, this time aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. Recall just last month the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School concluded that racial slurs found written on dormitory message boards were a hoax. This time in the Navy, a 27-year-old black seaman posted photos on social media showing his rack covered in trash and scrawled with racial slurs. Along with the photos, he posted the comment, “I proudly serve the Navy and this is what I’m receiving in return.” His message was posted in November, after which the Navy investigated and on Friday determined that the alleged racist incident was a hoax.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, wrote in an email, “A NCIS-supported command investigation following claims of racially-motivated vandalism aboard the [carrier] has determined that the alleged victim staged the incident himself.” Hecht added, “The United States Navy does not tolerate racial discrimination of any form and the well-being of our Sailors is our top priority.” Hecht did not identify the sailor but said that he had “received appropriate administrative actions and additional counseling and training. He will remain a member of the crew and continue to perform his military duties.”

The sailor denied that he staged the vandalism and claimed that NCIS had not done a thorough investigation. “I have nothing to gain from doing such an incident but I have everything to lose,” he insisted. “I constantly have to look who’s giving me the side eye.” In a culture that praises victims of racism and elevates them to a privileged status, is it any wonder that an increasing number of supposedly racially motivated “hate crimes” are proving to be hoaxes?

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