U.S. Marine Corps Launches Investigation Following Snapchat Video of Marines in Blackface

The U.S. Marine Corps has launched an investigation after a Snapchat video surfaced of two men in uniform in what appears to be blackface.

In the video, two white men salute the camera in apparent blackface, and one of them says, "Hello, monkey." The video was reposted to Twitter by the user Simar, who identified one of the men as Zach Highfield. The other man has not been identified. Both are reportedly with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS in Miramar, San Diego, KNSD reported.

"This is Zach Highfield, he's a Marine who is proudly displaying his bigotry by wearing blackface in his military gear. The man behind him who says "hello monkey" hasn't been identified yet. Care to comment on this racist behavior @USMC?" Twitter user Simar wrote Saturday.

Highfield told KPBSthat he and the other man were wearing charcoal masks, used to clean pores, and claimed that the video "looks a lot worse than it is."

"It was a bad mistake," he told the news station. "We had no intention to offend."

In a statement to Newsweek, Major Josef Patterson, director of communication strategy and operations of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, confirmed that an investigation into the post is underway.

"We are aware of the post. An investigation has been initiated to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the content. Our leaders are committed to maintaining an environment of professionalism, dignity, and respect," he said. "3rd MAW takes all allegations of discriminatory behavior very seriously as they stand in stark contrast of our core values of honor, courage, and commitment and do not reflect the discipline and professionalism of the Marines and Sailors of 3rd MAW."

In November 2017, the U.S. Marine Corps investigated multiple Snapchat videos where Marines could be seen consuming alcohol and saying racial slurs, the Military Times reported.

A Military Times poll that year found that nearly one in four troops said they had seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members. The poll was conducted one month after the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A Marine stands outside the Marine Barracks on November 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Marine Corps has launched an investigation following a viral video of two Marines in apparent blackface. Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images