Member of Coast Guard's hurricane response team fired after flashing 'white power' symbol during live MSNBC broadcast
During MSNBC's 'Live with Ali Velshi', Captain John Reed was giving an update on Hurricane Florence and response efforts when the member made the offensive hand gesture
The Coast Guard said a member of the hurricane response team has been removed after he appeared to make the 'white power' hand signal during a live broadcast on Friday night. The gesture was made on MSNBC's 'Live with Ali Velshi' while Captain John Reed was giving an update on Tropical Storm Florence and the response efforts in Charleston, South Carolina.
As Reed talked to the camera, a Coast Guard member sitting at a table behind the captain gave the 'OK' sign, a once-innocuous hand signal that is now widely associated with the alt-right.
US Coast Guard on hand gesture seen used by a support staff member (bottom left) during an interview on @MSNBC this afternoon:— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 15, 2018
"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
The Coast Guard released a statement on Twitter Friday night saying they were aware of the "offensive" gesture and that the unnamed Coast Guard member has been removed from response duties. "His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard," the tweet read.
Coast Guard Lt JB Zorn added that the incident was under investigation. "We're not going to let one person detract from the good work the Coast Guard is doing in the region," Zorn told NBC News. "We're going to stay focused."
Many people took to Twitter posting that the Coast Guard member needs to be fired.
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
'"Removed from response?' I hope this is just the beginning of serious disciplinary action and termination!" a Twitter user posted.
"What does this mean? Is he just out of camera shot now? IS he out "helping" black and brown people? Or just his own? Please be clearer," another user questioned.
Some others came to the Coast Guard member's defense saying he was not making the white power signal.
Wtf, Is this why the Clans’ Head guy is called Grand Wizard, cuz they’re using goofy tricks & hand signals? Sad. Coast Guard member flashed 'white power' symbol during TV segment https://t.co/IZL10cqliy via @nypost cc @John_Jett_Phd @FsuGoody @Sam10k @pbicchieri— Jeffrey Ventre (@jeffrey_ventre) September 16, 2018
"You seriously have the mental capacity of a 2 year old if you think that's a white power sign. It was totally made up just to prove how idiotic Liberals are and as usual every single one of you fell for it. Hopefully the guy sues the hell out of the Coast Guard," Darren Corbett tweeted.
The symbol originated on 4chan and has been repeatedly used by white supremacists. It soon morphed into a viral troll campaign aimed at liberals.
According to the Washington Post, in February 2017 4chan's /pol/ board discussed trying to make the idea go viral. 'To any who haven’t seen the original thread, our goal is to convince people on twitter that the ‘ok’ hand sign has been co-opted by neo-nazis,' the original poster of the thread read.