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Left-wing magazine's fact-checker resigns over tweet falsely implying disabled veteran is a Nazi

A fact-checker for the New Yorker magazine resigned from her position after her tweet about a disabled veteran's tattoo falsely implied he's a Nazi. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A fact-checker for the New Yorker resigned from her position after her tweet about a disabled veteran's tattoo falsely implied he's a Nazi, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Talia Lavin also apologized to the former Marine, Justin Gaertner, who's now an agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the paper said.

But in another tweet Thursday, Lavin tore into ICE for targeting her in its own tweet about Gaertner, who lost both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, the Times noted.

What did she say?

"This has been a wild and difficult week," Lavin wrote, the paper reported. "I owe ICE agent Justin Gaertner a sincere apology for spreading [a] rumor about his tattoo. However, I do not think it is acceptable for a federal agency to target a private citizen for a good faith, hastily rectified error."

Lavin’s tweet last week about a cross-shaped tattoo on Gaertner’s elbow elicited a response from ICE saying she had "essentially labeled him a Nazi," the Times said, adding the agency described his tattoo as a Titan 2 — a symbol of his platoon.

In her resignation message, Lavin tweeted that she "had become a weapon used to discredit my colleagues and the vital work they do holding power to account," the paper said.

However, she also said ICE was dishonest about her role in the dust-up, the Times said.

"ICE also lied about me, saying I originated the scrutiny of Gaertner’s tattoo," Lavin said in a tweet, the paper reported, adding that the 28-year-old also claimed ICE targeted her because of the New Yorker's criticism of the federal agency.

"I wasn’t the genesis of this rumor; there are tweets still up with tens of thousands of likes explicitly calling the tattoo ‘Nazi,’" Lavin said in a message to the Times.

Who else questioned the tattoo?

The paper said in previous story that actor Ron Perlman tweeted questions about the tattoo: "I know I’m a leftist, ‘D List’ actor, so my twitter feed is probably deceiving me, but is that an iron cross tattooed on this hero’s arm? This is a mistake, right? Cuz the Iron Cross was a symbol of Nazi Germany. Gotta be my twitter feed is leaning left again."

Perlman later apologized for his tweet — but didn't have much love for ICE:

Lavin noted to the Times that her "tweet was responsive to extant scrutiny, and I deleted it and issued a correction within 15 minutes, long before ICE could have been aware of it. I was targeted because I was part of a news organization critical of ICE."

She also told the paper she was "a useful foil: a fat Jewish feminist with a Harvard education. ICE said I ‘baselessly slandered an American hero,’ artificially pitted me against a disabled veteran, and engineered a conservative news cycle in which I was a villain."

ICE officials declined comment Friday, the Times said, while the New Yorker did not immediately respond to the paper's request for comment. But the Times noted that the magazine apologized for the original Lavin tweet earlier this week.

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