The Army is investigating a tweet alleging that two soldiers who work at the top levels of the Army’s headquarters at the Pentagon have engaged in an inappropriate relationship.
“We are aware of the tweet and are looking into it,” said Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith in a statement on Wednesday.
The tweet alleges that Army Sgt. First Class William Reiner, who is an enlisted public affairs adviser to the top enlisted leader of the Army and Virginia National Guard 1st Lt. Kait Abbott, who is a junior officer serving at the Army’s headquarters on sexual assault policy, engaged in an inappropriate extramarital relationship.
Both are prolific users of social media, often interacting with senior military leaders, with a history of criticizing other soldiers’ behavior on social media.
Now, they are under scrutiny themselves.
A relationship between any military officer and enlisted service member is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 134. It is also not allowed under Army Regulation 600-20. Extramarital relationships are also a violation of the UCMJ.
The allegation arose on Twitter just weeks ago when a fellow enlisted soldier, Army Spc. Sheyla Scholl, posted a screenshot of a text message she purportedly received from Abbott discussing an inappropriate relationship with Reiner.
Scholl tweeted, “I’m many things but one of them is not a liar and I also don’t need an alt because I will one thousand percent call you out with my chest. I am done. My mental health is not your pejorative,” and a screenshot of the text message.
The text message, sent from someone with Abbott’s initials, said, “dude [I don’t know] what to do. when I say borderline inappropriate with Will…it’s not borderline. it’s just inappropriate and I know that. I just..don’t know if I care.”
Scholl later responded with, “Also please tell me that Will isn’t married or anything.” The person purported to be Abbott responded with, “He is.”
I’m many things but one of them is not a liar and I also don’t need an alt because I will one thousand percent call you out with my chest. I am done. My mental health is not your pejorative. pic.twitter.com/TA9zSnqxWM
— Real Slim Sheyla (@terminalyill3st) December 28, 2021
An anonymous Twitter user also posted allegations of an appropriate relationship between Abbott and Reiner.
“Just tell how you’ve been having an affair with a married NCO from the @16thSMA office ma’am. While your husband is gone,” the anonymous user wrote.
He also alleged that Abbott and an Army lieutenant colonel discussed her “*ss” in direct messages.
A day later he sent another tweet alleging an affair:
The user called it the “WORST-kept secret.”
Another Army officer who wished to speak on background told Breitbart News that “many Army leaders” have seen the tweets and “are concerned.”
Abbott, who goes by the Twitter handle @callsignbarbie but used her real name in an interview with Military.com, was recruited to work for the Army’s People First Task Force, stood up by the top enlisted leader Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston to improve the Army’s handling of sexual assault.
She was allegedly recruited to the office after she tweeted about being sexually harassed and assaulted, according to soldiers familiar with her background.
Abbott is outspoken on Twitter on a range of issues, including politics, and has had heated exchanges with other soldiers on the platform.
Scholl is one of several who have claimed Abbott has bullied her.
Scholl is a sexual assault survivor who helped to write state legislation to strengthen the military’s response to sexual assault cases. She worked with Minnesota State Rep. Kelly Moller (D) on a law named after her.
Some of the acrimony between Scholl and Abbott — who were previously friends — became apparent after Scholl tweeted she was available to speak to soldiers about her sexual assault experience.
Abbott then tweeted that no commanders should take Scholl up on her offer, and called it a “grift.”
Scholl tweeted on December 28 she was still awaiting an apology from Abbott for her tweet:
Abbott also suggested that Scholl should “cease and desist” from “subtweeting” her on Twitter, otherwise face consequences.
“You know, considering the legal and policy implications at both the Army and the DoD level. But hey, I’m just a popular twitter account,” Abbott wrote to one of Scholl’s associates on November 11, 2021.
Scholl also alleged that Abbott and her associates have bullied her on Twitter for months and have accused her of creating fake accounts to harass them.
In a surprise twist on Thursday evening, Abbott publicly apologized to Scholl for calling her a grifter. “If you are one of those people invested in this drama — please know I no longer am. I wish her nothing but the best.”
At the same exact time, Scholl tweeted that she wanted to retract her insinuation of Abbott having an affair — despite the insinuation coming from Abbott herself in a text message. She tweeted, “We are sick and tired of people wanting women to fail by being more invested in this drama that should’ve ended before it even began.”
Scholl is not the only soldier who has claimed Abbott bullied her.
Sgt. Taylor Anne Kneuven, an enlisted soldier and also a sexual assault survivor, accused Abbott of bullying her and asked for reassurance of the quality of people who served on the People First Task Force.
Abbott also mocked a soldier for his allegedly not wanting to go down on women:
Reiner, who is a public affairs adviser to Grinston, also is a prolific user of social media and has become known among soldiers for tweeting snarky replies from Grinston’s social media accounts.
Abbott and Reiner are members of “MilTwitter” — a subset of the active duty service members and veterans on Twitter who are predominantly leftist and frequently engage with senior military leaders, often on policy that affects the entire force.
Abbott discussed in a recent article how her tweets led to her being asked by an Army general to assemble a proposal on Army grooming standards.
Abbott said, “It was…surreal, to say the least. At no point in my young Army career did I think I was going to even have the chance to influence policy change.”
Before Abbott worked at the Army headquarters, she tweeted support for former President Donald Trump and expressed support for pro-life views. However, in recent months she has changed her tune.
She criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and accused him of pushing Russian propaganda, telling Military.com, “I think it’s incredibly disturbing to see a sitting U.S. senator publicly push Russian propaganda, while simultaneously degrading the service of a very real soldier.”
“Cruz’s comments provided a beacon for those who might believe otherwise, and who will continue to push the message and belief that those who do not fit the straight, white male mold are not welcome here,” she added.
“We are still seeing pushes for equity and equality for women, and the senator’s comments provided a bed for misogyny to live in and thrive. My frustration lies here: The origin story of any young, white male is called the American Dream. Why does it become ‘woke’ when that story doesn’t quite fit the narrative?”
On Thursday, she called January 6 an insurrection: