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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-05-13

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Criticizes Marine Response to Offensive Facebook Page

Yesterday, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) issued a statement critical of the Marine Corp's handling of her complaint regarding an offensive Facebook page posted by active-duty Marines threatening violence against women and the Congresswoman herself.

The pages, which Speier reported to the Secretary of Defense in the beginning of May, featured degrading images and comments about women and women in the military. Many images condoned and even promoted violence against women and rape. Facebook has since removed the page, but various versions have reappeared. After Speier filed her complaint, new pages threatening Speier (and President Obama) that featured manipulated photos of her implying abuse and sexual assault appeared. The threats are being investigated by the Secret Service and the US Capitol Police.

In response to her complaint, Speier received a letter [PDF] from General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. In the letter Amos cited the difficulties in monitoring and tracking social media to investigate offensive content; technicalities regarding military conduct codes; and lack of funding, hindering their efforts to investigate offensive content.

Congresswoman Speier criticized Amos' excuses, saying the following in her statement:

"The Marine Corps' good order and discipline creed has been totally undermined when it cannot police Marines who use social media to promote anti-Semitism, sexism and racism. These messages of hate reflect the kinds of attitudes our military fights around the world as oppressive and demeaning to human dignity. The postings of a few serve to discredit the entire Corps and contribute to a hostile work environment. In the private sector these employees would be fired. The Marine Corps must do the right thing now and stop their own who practice the worst forms of hatred.

The letter from General Amos offers sequestration as a reason for inaction. The Commander-in-Chief has spoken. Suggesting that misconduct cannot be addressed because of sequestration is frankly unacceptable."

Media Resources: Statement of Jackie Speier 6/4/2013; Response of General James Amos 5/29/2013; USA Today 5/29/2013; NBC 5/9/2013


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