During a colleague’s on-camera interview, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard is said to have flashed a symbol associated with white power.
The unidentified member was sitting in the background of an MSNBC live shot on Friday. Capt. John Reed was giving an update on the Coast Guard’s Florence storm response efforts when the member made the “OK” symbol with his hands.
It caused backlash on social media. The Coast Guard responded on Twitter stating he was removed from Florence duty:
We are aware of the offensive video on twitter – the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response. His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) September 15, 2018
The hand gesture that has historically been associated with the OK symbol has been
used by white supremacists since February 2017 to reclaim the symbol as their own. The man could be seen trying to hide the gesture by making it look like he was scratching his face or hair.
A Twitter profile known as @TheEuniceBurns tweeted the video to @AngryBlackLady stating “Just saw this on MSNBC during interview with Coast Guard. Check out white power in background.”
@AngryBlackLady Just saw this on MSNBC during interview with Coast Guard. Check out white-power in background. @uscoastguard pic.twitter.com/G7HcgDb649
— Eunice Burns (@TheEuniceBurns) September 14, 2018
This comes on the heels of Zina Bash, an attorney and Republican operative, making the same gesture on camera while sitting behind Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court nominee hearing.
Conservatives and skeptics have pushed back on this claiming, “So the hundreds of millions of people who use the ‘ok!’ sign are actually a massive secret society of Nazi’s”
In a tweet to the Coast Guard another person stated, “I am disappointed with you and the support you are showing to one of your own. Soon we will not be able to do anything because someone will always be offended. Actually, I’m offended by your stance on this!”
Yet, another person pointed out on Twitter, “It doesn’t matter. It started as a joke or trigger. It’s been adopted.”