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Army recruiter and gay copywriter get into email fight

by Ben Monopoli
Contributor
Monday Mar 26, 2007
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Like thousands of other job seekers, Jersey City resident Corey Andrew recently posted his profile on a popular job-hunting website, hoping to find work as a copywriter. But the response he received was anything but typical.

The posting generated several responses, including one from an Army recruiter who replied in late February, the Jersey Journal reported March 26.

Andrew, who is gay, had no interest in joining the Army for a number of reasons, including the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian citizens from serving.

However, his lack of interest didn’t stop him from emailing back and asking the recruiter whether he was able to serve in the Army as a gay man.

Using a military email address, U.S. Army recruiter Sgt. Marcia Ramode responded in capital letters, "IF YOU ARE GAY WE DON’T TAKE YOU. YOU ARE CONSIDERED UNQUALIFIED."

After more prodding from Andrew on the Army’s recruitment policy, the messages escalated into a bigoted tirade. Ramode told Andrew that "being gay is disgusting and immoral."

In another email, Ramode wrote, "You must be a total idiot and so stupid to presume that you do not know what gender you are." Ramode added that Andrew should be more grateful to the military for defending his freedoms, but that as a gay man "he should leave the United States."

By this point the insults were flying both ways. Andrew criticized Ramode’s vocabulary and poor spelling and, after finding out she was Native American, wrote: "So take that to your next rain dance."

In response, the enraged sergeant said in graphic language that Andrew, who is black, should "GO BACK TO AFRICA AND DO YOUR GAY VOODOO LIMBO TANGO AND WANGO DANCE AND JUMP AROUND AND PRANCE AND RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE HALF NAKED THERE."

The U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s Staff Judge Advocate referred the email exchange to Ramode’s commander for "review, investigation and appropriate action," Sgt. Douglas Smith, a public affairs officer based in Fort Knox, TX, said in a statement.

Steve Ralls, a director of communications for the Service Members Legal Defense Network, which helps victims of discrimination under the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy, says Ramode should be fired.

"The recruiter’s remarks were outrageous and offensive in almost every way," Ralls said, but he is relieved that the Army appears to be taking the email exchange seriously.

"The command expects its recruiters to conduct themselves in a professional manner in all dealings with potential applicants and members of the public," Sgt. Smith said about the Army. "We are ambassadors for America’s Army."

Ramode did not return phone calls seeking comment. And we were afraid to email her.

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