The New Yorker prides itself on hiring the most elite, Ivy League-educated fact checkers to back up its stories; but who knew a Harvard education would be useless in spotting military tattoos?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is calling out the stuffy, liberal magazine for “baselessly slandering” a Marine veteran after fact-checker Talia Lavin wrongly accused one of their agents of sporting a “Nazi tattoo.”
Lavin made remarks that Justin Gaertner, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan and is now an ICE forensics analyst, had a tattoo on his elbow that was a Nazi Iron Cross.
ICE said in a statement the embarrassing tweet from Lavin was deleted after “military veterans responded that the tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross, a symbol associated with firefighters.”
Gaertner clarified the tattoo was a “Titan 2” symbol that represented the platoon he served with in Afghanistan.
“The writing on his right arm is the Spartan Creed which is about protecting family and children,” ICE pointed out. “Anyone attempting to advance their personal political opinions by baselessly slandering an American hero should be issuing public apologies to Mr. Gaertner and retractions. This includes Levin [sic] and the New Yorker.”
Gaertner’s duties included sweeping for IEDs and serving as a fire team leader in Afghanistan. He scarified both his legs and suffered other permanent injuries during his deployment.
When he returned home, Gaertner became a para-Olympic competitor and ICE says “volunteered his time to motivate other wounded warriors and Boston bombing victims.” His chief duty with ICE is bringing child sex offenders to justice.
Lavin made her comment in reference to a photo tweeted by ICE on May 25th which featured the wounded hero. She has since made her Twitter account private and sunk back into her ivory tower where she presumably doesn’t have to deal with sexually abused children or IEDs.
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The National Review reported that the New Yorker sheepishly apologized on Monday and distanced itself from Lavin.
“The New Yorker has just learned that a staff member erroneously made a derogatory assumption about ICE agent Justin Gaertner’s tattoo. The personal social-media accounts of staff members do not represent the magazine, and we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” said a spokesperson. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”
Lavin did not respond to DANGEROUS for comment. She remains employed by the New Yorker.
Pawl Bazile is Patriotism Correspondent for DANGEROUS and Production Director for Proud Boy Magazine. He tweets at @PawlBazile.