The Marine Corps is looking into allegations that an unknown number of potential Marines, as well as current and former service members, shared naked and compromising photos of their colleagues on social media, Marine officials said Sunday.
The allegations were first reported by the War Horse and published Saturday through the website Reveal. The author, a Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient, as well as members of his family, have received numerous death threats since the article was first published. It is unclear how many people are involved in the scandal and how many photos were posted online.
The War Horse’s report focuses on one Facebook group with more than 30,000 members called Marines United. In January, a link to a shared hard drive containing photos of numerous female Marines in various states of undress was posted to the group, according to the War Horse’s report. The hard drive contained images, as well as the names and units of the women pictured. Many of the photos were accompanied by derogatory and harassing comments.[...]
Woytek said she was alerted to the hijacked photos by others on social media and were shown the comments that accompanied them. She said that many of the comments included allusions to sexual assault and rape.
Many of her female colleagues have experienced similar incidents, she said, and added that they been reluctant to speak out for fear of retaliation from the group’s thousands of members. With the War Horse’s report Saturday, Woytek said that she and others “have a voice now.” [...]
“This behavior by Marines and former Marines is degrading, dangerous, and completely unacceptable,” said Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. “The military men and women who proudly volunteer to serve their country should not have to deal with this kind of reprehensible conduct.