Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Coast Guard member taken off hurricane duty over alleged white power gesture

Coast Guard member taken off hurricane duty over alleged white power gesture

John Reed was in the process of giving a live MSNBC interview on Live with Ali Velshi to provide an update on the Coast Guard response to the storm, when-unbeknownst to him-one of his men sitting behind him chose to make a not-so-subtle "OK" gesture in front of the rolling cameras. Others were offended because they connect the gesture to President Donald Trump and conservatives.

He was at a desk in the background as the cable channel spoke to Coast Guard Commanding Officer Capt John Reed in Charleston, South Carolina.

Social media users called for the firing of the man who made the signal.

"The Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response", the organisation's official account tweeted. Which leaves it uncertain: Is this an online joke or a white-power symbol-or did one become the other?

The incident quickly sparked outrage on Twitter, prompting the Coast Guard to issue a statement confirming that it was aware of the incident.

As Hurricane Florence continues to pummel the southern East Coast, emergency personnel are working tirelessly to rescue those who are stranded due to rising flood waters from the storm surge. This person has been removed from the response pending an investigation.

"Whatever that symbol means, it doesn't reflect the Coast Guard and our core values", said Coast Guard Lt. J.B.

At last count, the storm has caused seven deaths and left more than 1 million people without power. 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". The Anti-Defamation League, for example, has deemed that it is not.

The thumb-and-forefinger "OK" hand gesture the Coast Guard employee appeared to make is associated with "white power", although it is not clear how it originated. The most benign meaning of the gesture is that it simply communicates everything is OK or good.

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