US Naval Academy’s Cancel Culture Targeted the Son of Two LA Police Dept Officers for Expulsion

This 1913 photo made available by the United States Naval Academy Museum shows the auditorium of Mahan Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Dozens of women in the museum's Mahan Hall, used a patented stitching pattern to help preserve fabric. (United States Naval Academy Museum via AP)

The “Cancel Culture” is not only destroying America’s cultural history and institutions; it is destroying the lives of people, too. The Marxist Black Lives Matter seeks to demolish 250 years of American exceptionalism by exploiting white guilt for the sins of their fathers and pressing for destructive institutional changes throughout America. Their demand “defund the police” is but one example of their insane sloganeering. They are also hard at work institutionalizing the implementation of Marxist “critical race theory” training in all federal agencies, including the US military.

Of particular personal interest to me has been learning about and exposing efforts at the US Naval Academy to implement “critical race theory” precepts throughout the Brigade of Midshipmen, as I previously detailed in this article by quoting directly from an internal email to staff sent by the USNA superintendent himself, VADM Sean Buck, USN, just days after the Office of Manpower and Budgeting signed out a memorandum directing all federal agencies to end critical race theory training.

As despicable as that email was, I was unprepared to learn that the wrath of the USNA cancel culture – which includes USNA leadership – has targeted a first-class midshipman (a senior, for you civilians) for termination for making comments from his Twitter account that were alleged to be racist, as reported here. Hold my beer on the “racist comments” allegation, as trumpeted by the leftist Capital Gazette and the few other legacy media who have reported/spun the story. Just as with the sensational national stories about “institutional racism” and “police brutality” that have captured the nation’s attention over the past few years, so also the ultimate truth in this case is much different than the initial allegations. In this instance, the legacy media would have us believe that it’s a simple case of unprotected racist speech on Twitter by a midshipman, a clear violation of USNA policies and instructions, a simple cut-and-dried disciplinary matter warranting immediate expulsion, and another scalp of a “racist white guy” for the cancel culture.

But not so fast! The accused midshipman, Chase Standage, has retained counsel who has filed a civil action with the US District Court for the District of Maryland seeking a “declaration from [the] Court that the conduct proceeding at issue … violated his rights under the First and Fifth Amendments, a declaration that the findings of guilt in the case against him have no basis in applicable law and must be overturned, and an injunction halting the separation process [expulsion from USNA] and allowing MIDN Standage to finish his undergraduate course work, … graduate from the Naval Academy, and receive his commission as an Ensign in the Navy.”

Here is what Attorney Jeffrey McFadden (a distinguished member of USNA Class of 1979) conveyed to me in a written response to questions posed about the events leading to MIDN Standage’s pending expulsion. These are the facts of the case that the legacy media have refused to investigate because the reality is shocking:

In June 2020, MIDN Standage was home in Moorpark, CA.  He rarely saw his parents because they were working insane hours dealing with the riots in LA.  At one point, Standage’s mother’s precinct house was surrounded by ANTIFA-backed and other protesters, who were threatening to kill everyone inside, find out the addresses of the cops’ families, and then track down their families and kill them as well.

Wondering each day whether his parents would come home or be killed, MIDN Standage got on Twitter for about a week and got into some heated exchanges over the following subjects:

  • His agreement with the President that many of the protestors were domestic terrorists
  • His agreement with the President that military force against domestic terrorists might be necessary and was appropriate
  • His agreement with black conservative columnist Candace Owens that economic inequality across demographic groups was not a consequence of racism
  • Defending the police who shot Breonna Taylor
  • Agreeing with another tweeter that, in allowing Navy football players to waive their service commitments to go pro, the Academy seemed to care more about the ability to throw a ball than leadership qualities and general competence

It bears emphasis that all of MIDN Standage’s tweets were responses to the inflammatory tweets of others. All of the tweets were provided in the complaint to the District Court. Members of the Navy football team and others found MIDN Standage’s tweets, cut and pasted them in a way that took some of them completely out of context, and turned them in to the USNA chain of command.

After an “investigation,” MIDN Standage was charged with violating COMDTMIDNNOTE 5720 [an internal USNA instruction] and conduct unbecoming [a midshipman]. Even though the “witnesses” were randomly-picked black midshipmen (except for MIDN Standage’s roommate, who is also black) who talked about how offensive and “racist” the tweets were, no witness was able to say that MIDN Standage himself had ever exhibited any racial animus. One of these “witnesses,” a member of the football team, said he wasn’t sure whether MIDN Standage’s comment about “throwing a ball” was racist or not. Of course it wasn’t, but therein lies the core of the problem.

Prior to his adjudication before the Deputy Commandant, I provided a written submission that argued 1) none of Standage’s tweets were on “political subjects” as that term is defined in COMDMIDNNOTE 5720, nor did he ever identify himself as a USNA midshipman or a member of the military and 2) the tweets did not constitute conduct unbecoming because the content is protected speech under the First Amendment and did not, as a matter of fact and a matter of law, constitute a “clear and present danger to good order and discipline” because the tweets were not directed at anyone in the military. We also attached close to 90 exhibits of social media posts of other current and recently-graduated midshipmen, many of them black, whose posts can only be described as disgraceful, pernicious, racist, nihilistic, and seditious. These posts are also contained in the complaint filed with the District Court. MIDN Standage’s posts pale in comparison.

The “adjudication” before the Deputy Commandant was straight out of Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.”  Ignoring our legal arguments, he made clear to MIDN Standage that there was only ONE acceptable position with respect to the subject matters of the tweets – the Command’s position (informed by the BLM and Anti-Racism movements), and that MIDN Standage’s statements to the contrary were racist and prejudicial to good order and discipline. The Deputy Commandant’s comments and his rant about the supremacy of the football team left no doubt that the Deputy was pandering to the Brigade’s social justice warriors. It is also important to note that one of the clear undercurrents of the adjudication was the Deputy’s contempt for the President. For example, he asked Standage, “You really think the President sets the standard of conduct for officers?” The specifics of his comments are in the complaint filed. MIDN Standage was found guilty of both charges, received the max on demerits and restriction, and his case was forwarded to the Commandant recommending separation from the Naval Academy.

Kafkaesque indeed! Discussion about the USNA football team’s centrality in the cancel culture on campus will be saved for a future article, as well as detailing of the various tweets made by MIDN Standage and also those ignored by the Deputy Commandant in recommending MIDN Standage’s expulsion. This sordid tale gets much worse, as Attorney McFadden further detailed in his written response to my question. Here is the rest of the process that led to Standage’s pending expulsion:

The Commandant had to recuse himself because of some extraordinary social media posts made by his 14 year-old daughter which, among other things, identify herself with ACAB (“All Cops Are Bastards”), call for the abolishment of ICE, endorse Antifa, retweets a post by the ANTIFA hacker cell Anonymous that “Mango Mussolini” (the President) can go f*** himself, and retweets another post that says “f*** the police.” One of her followers is her father, the Commandant. The Commandant also had a Commandant’s Call [a gathering of the entire Brigade of Midshipmen for the purposes of disseminating information determined important by the Command] in which he recited the BLM anti-racist credo that it was not enough to be “not racist;” all midshipmen had to be “anti-racist” and actively speak out against racism.

We appealed the Deputy Commandant’s decision to the Superintendent (demanding that the Commandant recuse himself). The Superintendent pushed the appeal down to his Chief of Staff. Our appeal, consisting of a single-spaced, 24-page legal brief and close to 90 exhibits, was disposed of in one sentence: “You were not found guilty for what you said, but how you said it.” MIDN Standage was then adjudicated by the Chief of Staff who promptly forwarded him to the Superintendent.

As for the Superintendent, he actively espouses the Marxist/Stalinist/Maoist credos of BLM and Anti-Racism. The Superintendent made all of his wokeness manifest in his interview of MIDN Standage. He scoffed at the idea that the LA riots were violent or that MIDN Standage’s parents were ever in any real danger.

Some further context is required at this point. At the heart of the allegations against Standage were comments he made on Twitter defending police actions during the riots in various cities around the US. It should be noted in particular that BOTH of Standage’s parents are career officers with the Los Angeles Police Dept with a combined 57 years of service between them. Here is a picture of MIDN Standage’s father’s overturned police car with windows smashed out during the Rodney King riots in LA in 1992.

Now fast forward to June 2020. During a period of one week, in the midst of the mayhem and anti-police rioting in Los Angeles, MIDN Standage was at his parents’ home by himself, daily wondering whether his parents would come home alive. And he is being separated from the Naval Academy for defending the police (his parents) for comments made during that tense time from a social media account? With this as context, the written responses from Attorney McFadden continued:

[The Superintendent] asked whether MIDN Standage’s views regarding the use of military force against civilians reflected solely his own views or those of his parents, implying that his parents, as police officers, believed in using violence against innocent protestors [emphatically answered “no”]. He asked MIDN Standage if he hated the football team. When MIDN Standage said no, the Superintendent said, “That’s not the answer I was looking for,” meaning for all practical purposes, “You do hate the football team, and that makes you a racist.”

Our lawsuit alleges that the entirety of this travesty constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. It is undeniably clear that MIDN Standage is being punished and faces separation for taking constitutionally-protected positions on issues of national interest shared by the President and many Americans, but that the BLM/Anti-Racist woke culture find “unacceptable” and thus consistent with “institutional, structural racism.” In addition, what other explanation exists for the moral and logical inconsistencies between the Command’s reaction to MIDN Standage’s tweets and its failure to do anything about all of the other truly vile tweets by midshipmen and others, including threats of physical violence and even death against MIDN Standage, that were ignored.

Here is the bottom line: the BLM and Anti-Racist movements’ insistence that they reserve unto themselves the sole right to define what does or does not constitute racism in this country – an insistence unconditionally adopted and embraced by the Naval Academy Command leadership – is antithetical to free speech, and constitutes viewpoint discrimination. Our lawsuit also alleges deprivation of due process under the Fifth Amendment. Given the Academy’s total buy-in and constant, mandatory espousal of the BLM and Anti-Racist mantras, MIDN Standage could not possibly have received fair hearings, any more than a prisoner in a re-education camp could.

As the great Paul Harvey used to say at the end of his radio monologues, “And now you know the REST of the story!” The aforementioned is an overview of the events leading to the pending expulsion of MIDN Chase Standage from USNA for tweets made from an anonymous account on Twitter. It is clear that the cancel culture is alive and well at the Naval Academy, and that the inmates are running the asylum.

This article is the first of several that will cover this case, with subsequent postings providing additional detail of the social media exchanges at the heart of the matter. I will be monitoring this case closely. Its ultimate outcome will explain much about whether due process and constitutional rights exist and will be upheld for every American or not, including midshipmen preparing to serve their country in the US Navy.

The cultural rot in our institutions must not be simply stopped; it needs to be completely reversed if our constitutional Republic is to be preserved from destruction by the Marxist revolutionaries running wild in streets of American cities – and at taxpayer-funded places like the US Naval Academy!

The end.