US Coast Guard member reassigned over 'white power' gesture

Lewis Collier
September 16, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard says they have removed a member of their ranks from the branch's Hurricane Florence response team after he briefly flashed an "OK" hand gesture supposedly linked to white supremacism during a live TV interview.

The incident occurred as MSNBC covered the emergency response to deadly tropical storm Florence, which is drenching the Carolinas.

"We are aware of the offensive video on Twitter - the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response", the US Coast Guard said on its official Twitter account.

The Coast Guard tweeted that it had "identified the member and removed him from the response" after a clip of him was shared on Twitter, adding, "His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard". In a statement, the agency said the incident was a "frustrating distraction" amid the unsafe hurricane that is poised to affect more than 10 million people this week in the Southeast.

A number of Twitter commentators were in no doubt about the nature of the momentary hand gesture. "This needs to be investigated and this man needs to be ousted/removed/discharged!" "These evil people are among us". Some leftists have claimed the OK sign is a signal of "white power".

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A Browns official told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that the team's decision was inclusive of present and past issues. Gordon has been suspended several times during his career for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

"This is a frustrating distraction for the Coast Guard during our hurricane response".

It apparently began as an online hoax before it was adopted by far-right sympathisers and even some Trump supporters to goad liberals.

So, it is not always clear if and when the hand gesture is actually being used in a racist fashion, but the Coast Guard still deemed the act to be inappropriate. It later became an issue when GOP operative Zina Bash made the sign during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and sparked a tweetstorm of criticism (her husband said Bash was just resting her hand in a "random way", per the Post).

Ms Bash, who is of Jewish-Mexican heritage, was branded a "neo-Nazi" or "white supremacist". Additionally, the "OK" sign is also tied to the "circle game", which is a viral meme that involves someone flashing an upside down "OK" gesture so they can get viewers to look at their hand, therefore winning the "game". Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves.

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