A man who runs public speaking seminars faced severe backlash on social media from Marines and veterans groups after he dressed up as a drill instructor during one of his recent engagements.
Marines took to Facebook and Twitter to launch a social media campaign to stop Marc Accetta, the founder of a company that provides seminars and training programs, from donning official Marine Corps uniform items during his engagements.
The photo, which showed Accetta dressed as a first sergeant with the classic DI smokey cover, appears to have been removed from Facebook. And just hours later, Accetta issued a public apology on his Facebook page.
Marine Corps Times reached out to Accetta for more on what was behind his initial decision to dress like a Marine drill instructor. He said occasionally holds business training seminars that are “theatrical in nature.” For that particular event, he said the theme was “boot camp.”
“In the very beginning of the event, I address the group as a drill instructor and instill them with parallels and analogies from all U.S. military that are helpful in building their entrepreneurial business,” Accetta said. “I never claim to be an actual soldier. The audience is totally aware that they are being addressed by civilians using a boot camp theme to teach them great principles.”
Accetta said he was surprised by the backlash he received after a photo of him wearing the uniform was posted to Facebook. As a public speaker for the past 25 years, he said he has honored the military on many occasions by drawing attention to their sacrifice and service. Veterans who’ve attended his events over the years have been thankful for that message, he said.
“I would never knowingly do anything that was disrespectful to anyone in the U.S. military,” Accetta said. “I now understand why it was offensive, but it was very unintentional.”
Marines have, for the most part, accepted his Facebook apology, Accetta said.
“My father is a WWII veteran and I was raised to have the utmost respect for our armed forces, so this has been a very difficult experience for me,” he said. “I appreciate you asking for the proper context this all occurred in, and asking me a few questions allowing me to express myself more clearly.”