The US Coast Guard has “removed” one of its members from the Hurricane Florence response team after he allegedly made a ‘white power’ hand signal during a live TV broadcast.
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The unidentified team member made the “offensive” ‘OK’ hand gesture while looking into the camera during a live broadcast with Sector Charleston Commanding Officer Captain John Reed on MSNBC.
US Coast Guard on hand gesture seen used by a support staff member (bottom left) during an interview on @MSNBC this afternoon:
"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." pic.twitter.com/jjwZmCFFBI
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 15, 2018
The move was picked up by many viewers who took to social media to express their outrage at what they believed was an intentional display of a hate symbol. The Coast Guard responded to the outcry on Saturday by saying they had “removed” the member from the response team.
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
“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,” the agency tweeted.
This was clearly an opportunity for the individual to throw a “whitepower” sign at the camera. If he is in the service of the US Coast Guard I hope they undertake some necessary disciplinary action. Shameful conduct….
— Mitch Kimball (@MitchKimball2) September 15, 2018
The universal hand signal has become a topic of debate after it reportedly started off as a 4chan hoax to “troll the libs” in 2017, but then actually became a symbol used by white supremacists and some Trump supporters. Just this month the wife of a US attorney, Zina Bash, denied flashing the symbol during a Senate hearing and insisted she was just resting her fingers in that position.
Coast Guard employee absolutely flashed white power "OK" sign. He looks right at camera, then at spokesman suspiciously. Then he acts like he is itching his eyebrow, slides WP sign clearly across his cheek before resting face on hand. Undeniable. https://t.co/k7oCB5gxha
— Arun Gupta (@arunindy) September 15, 2018
We have declined as a nation when a member of the Coast Guard feels so embodied that he can flash a white power sign on television. My drill sergeant in the Army shared with us that in his mind, we were all green soldiers. Right afterward, he told us he hated all green soldiers.
— WLHearns, MST, MBA (@WLHEARNS) September 15, 2018