WASHINGTON, DC – Facing what he called an "epidemic" of Marines posting videos asking out celebrities to this year's Marine Corps ball, the Corps' top enlisted leader announced plans on Friday to immediately prohibit the activity.
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green said that after a recent round-table with Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford and other senior leaders, the Marine Corps would be releasing a Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) next week to specifically ban Marines from making celebrity invitations.
"Since when did asking celebrities out on dates, which anywhere else is usually considered a sign of mental issues, become acceptable behavior for Marines?" Green asked reporters.
While the order will make no specific mention of the celebrity issue, it will instruct commanders to use Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice on any Marines "making a public ass of themselves" with regard to formal ceremonies.
Celebrity ball invites date back to 2011, when Sgt. Scott Moore made a video while deployed in Afghanistan inviting actress Mila Kunis, although Kunis later admitted at the time she thought it was part of a Make-A-Wish event. Since then there have been dozens of copycat videos by Marines, with invitations going out to UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, married celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, and even Michelle Obama.
Gen. Dunford has publicly voiced concerns that celebrity invites are a potential abuse of military position and rank and have become a tool of harassment. Dunford has also become increasingly worried that celebrities are accepting invitations to the Marine Corps Ball out of "social blackmail" rather than dealing with the public relations backlash of turning down a group of losers unable to get real dates.
The invites have also recently grown more controversial. In 2014, a female corporal at Camp Lejeune invited Justin Beiber, but cancelled after she tried to "trade up" the invite for Ryan Gosling. That same year a staff sergeant at Miramar invited Jon Hamm to the 3rd Marine Air Wing ball, with a request to either see his penis or throw him off a building.
According to Green, the last straw came during a meeting Dunford held with senior Marine generals in July over F-35 cost overruns that turned into an office fistfight over who would get to invite Bristol Palin or porn star Mia Khalifa.
While the order will most likely not take effect before the beginning of Fiscal Year 2016 on October 1, it will be applied retroactively for any Marines who actually bring celebrities to this year's ball. Sgt. Maj. Green emphasized it will apply to both celebrities and celebrity impersonators.
Green said he had a personal message for all aspiring Devil Dog daters in the meantime: "Stop... just, please stop."
"Look Marines, " Green said. "I understand why you might want to invite Ronda Rousey and even I might have a little chubby if I got to take Kyle Carpenter; but Marines: this is our day, not theirs. Keep it appropriate."
"Bring your girlfriend. Bring your wife. Bring your girlfriend and your wife. Bring someone else's wife. Hell, bring a goddamn escort girl or a tranny hooker from Jacksonville, just don't fucking ask them out on YouTube!"