Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Culture

Army officer makes Holocaust joke on TikTok

TikTok, whatever your feelings on the security of its Chinese ownership, is a hub for creative content — much of it Jewish. But like any other platform, it’s also vulnerable to the contributions of the crass, misguided and offensively unfunny.

On Monday, 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, a popular TikTok user with nearly 3 million followers, made a painfully hacky Holocaust joke in a since-deleted post.

“Reason 1 million why I will never be verified: dark jokes,” Freihofer, an officer in the U.S. Army, said in the video, before asking what a Jewish person’s favorite “Pokemon” character would be.

“Ash,” he answers with a smirk before laughing like the world’s most punchable dolphin. “If you get offended, get the f—k out because it’s a joke,” he concludes. “Don’t be a p—y.”

Given the spate of young TikTokers roleplaying cremated Shoah victims and the general trend of antisemitism on the app, this was the last thing we needed.

But the good news is there may be consequences for once.

A spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps, where Freihofer serves as a soldier, told Task & Purpose, “The command is taking immediate action looking into this,” adding that several conversations had been already had at the “highest levels” of the corps.

The post is a likely violation of the Army’s “Think, Type, Post” policy, which insists that officers only send out messages that “demonstrate dignity and respect for self and others.”

Thankfully it’s not all bad news on TikTok. If you need a palate cleanser from lazy antisemitism, you can always watch this young woman’s videos of shtetl life. We’d say they should be required viewing for Lt. Freihofer, but, let’s be honest, his TikTok privileges should be revoked — at the very least.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.