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Video: Army officer under investigation for Holocaust video on TikTok

2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer's TikTok account. (TikTok screenshot)
September 03, 2020

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, who is also a social media influencer on the TikTok video-sharing app, is under investigation for a recent TikTok video about the Holocaust.

Task & Purpose Editor in Chief Paul Szoldra tweeted Freihofer’s controversial video on Monday. “2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, a popular TikTok influencer with nearly 3 mil followers, posted a joke about the holocaust. ‘If you get offended, get the fuck out because it’s a joke,’ he says. May be contrary to Army’s ‘Think, Type, Post’ social media policy, but hey what do I know.”

Stars & Stripes reported Freihofer, who is a 23-year-old field artillery officer stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., has been suspended from his duties and the Army has begun an investigation into his video post.

In comments provided to Stars & Stripes, Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, the commander of Fort Stewart’s 3rd Infantry Division, called the remarks shared in Freihofer’s video “vile.”

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On Monday, the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart tweeted, “3ID is investigating reports of a Soldier making vile remarks on a social media video. The statements made in the video are not indicative of the values we live by, and there is no place for racism or bigotry in our Army or our country.

“An investigation has been initiated into this matter and the Soldier has been suspended of any and all leadership authorities effective immediately, pending the results of the investigation,” the 3rd Infantry Division said in a second tweet.

The Army’s “Think, Type, Post” policy states, “We expect leaders and influencers from the squad level up to talk about and demonstrate what respect looks like at work, at home and online. Make it clear that behavior and actions that are not consistent with our Army Values will not be tolerated in America’s premier fighting force. Members of the Army Team should employ ‘Think, Type, Post’ when engaging on social media sites. ‘Think’ about the message being communicated and who could potentially view it now and for years to come; ‘Type’ a communication that is consistent with Army Values’ and ‘Post’ only those messages that demonstrate dignity and respect for self and others.”

On Monday the Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves the site of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp tweeted, “He wrote: ‘For legal reasons this is a joke’ What about moral reasons & respect? Would he look into the eyes of Survivors liberated by @USArmy and tell them this?
Nathan, if you see this, take this lesson to learn why you hurt real people & their memory.”

Freihofer is reportedly a prolific social media user with more than three million followers on TikTok and over 200,000 on Instagram. While he did not appear in uniform in this particular video, he has appeared in uniform in numerous past videos.

In December, the Army banned its members from downloading TikTok on government-issued phones following the Pentagon’s concerns about the app’s Chinese ownership and cybersecurity concerns. Soldiers are still permitted to use the app on their personal devices.