- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The New Yorker has apologized after a fact checker and contributing writer falsely accused a Marine veteran and current ICE forensic analyst of having a Nazi tattoo.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), The New Yorker’s Talia Lavin suggested in a since-deleted tweet that Justin Gaertner’s tattoo commemorating the platoon he served with in Afghanistan was actually a Nazi “Iron Cross” tattoo.

“Levin [sic] deleted her post after military veterans responded that the tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross, a symbol associated with fire fighters,” the agency said in a statement. “The tattoo on his left elbow is actually ‘Titan 2,’ the symbol for his platoon while he fought in Afghanistan.”

ICE said Mr. Gaertner, who lost both legs in an IED attack, works as a computer forensics analyst, “helping to solve criminal cases and rescue children who have been sexually abused.”

“Anyone attempting to advance their personal political opinions by baselessly slandering an American hero should be issuing public apologies to Mr. Gaertner and retractions,” the statement added. “This includes Levin and The New Yorker.”

Ms. Lavin acknowledged on Twitter that some veterans told her Mr. Gaertner’s “tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so I deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation,” Heavy.com reported.

In response to criticism by Anti-Defamation League senior research fellow Steve Pitcavage, Ms. Lavin tweeted: “I’m sorry to have contributed to it — I usually try to be more careful with what I share.”

Ms. Lavin’s Twitter account has since been set to private and her Facebook profile deleted.

The New Yorker on Monday apologized for Ms. Lavin’s tweet.

“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement to National Review. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”

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