The racist messages penned on whiteboards at the Air Force Academy in September inspired an impassioned speech from a lieutenant general and widespread news coverage. It turns out that the messages were nothing more than a hoax.
The academy began an investigation into the so-called “hate crime” in September after words written outside the dorm rooms of African American students, which read “Go home,” followed by the N-word. One of the cadet candidates allegedly targeted by the racist remarks has been found responsible for the act.
At the time, the writings sparked media outrage and even prompted a speech by Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria condemning racism on the campus.
Silveria told cadet candidates that racists needed to “get out” and praised the “power of the diversity” of the U.S. military as one of its core strengths.
“We would also be tone deaf not to think about the backdrop of what is going on in our country. Things like Charlottesville, Ferguson, the protests in the NFL,” said the general.
KKTV11 on Tuesday reports The cadet candidate has now left the school, following the investigation. The academy says the individual admitted responsibility.
The academy released the following statement:
We acknowledge that there may be additional information already in the public space, but we will refrain from discussing further details surrounding the investigation due to Privacy Act requirements.
Racism has no place at the Academy, in any shape or form. We will continue to create a climate of dignity and respect for all, encourage ideas that do so, and hold those who fail to uphold these standards accountable.
Speaking to The Gazette in an email, academy spokesperson Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said, “We can confirm that one of the cadet candidates who was allegedly targeted by racist remarks written outside of their dorm room was actually responsible for the act,” adding, “(t)he individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation.”
According to The Gazette, the cadet candidate fabricated the hoax “in a bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct.”
This is one of the first instances of hate crime hoaxes in recent times where something has actually been done to reprimand the hoaxer.