Photograph by Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images.
The Marine Corps announced Wednesday that the sergeant who superimposed President Obama’s face onto a poster for the movie Jackass and posted it on Facebook will receive an other-than-honorable-discharge and lose most of his benefits for violating military policy.
The Associated Press reports the the Marine Corps accepted a unanimous finding by an internal board that Sgt. Gary Stein had disrupted "good order and discipline" with his social media comments, which he posted to a Facebook page he created named "Armed Forces Tea Party," among others. Stein’s lawyer had sought court intervention in the proceedings on First Amendment grounds, but a federal judge rejected those claims, pointing to a Pentagon policy against disruptive speech that dates to the Civil War.
In reference to reports that the government was considering charges against service members who burned Qurans in Afghanistan, Stein wrote on Facebook, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him." Stein later said he meant “unlawful” orders. Stein, based near San Diego, apparently ignored warnings from superiors about his posts.
Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter both expressed support for Stein. The Obama Administration has not commented on the matter.
Stein, 26, had been a nine-year veteran of the Marines and served in Iraq. He was scheduled to end his service this summer. "I love the Marine Corps; I love my job. I wish it wouldn't have gone this way," Stein told the AP. "I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career."