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Did this Coast Guard member flash a white power sign during a live TV interview?
“About as subtle as a train wreck…”
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. The United States Coast Guard has been at the center of rescue efforts in the Carolinas, but the sacrifices of those workers were briefly overshadowed on Friday by one rogue member who seemingly used the attention to make an offensive so-called political statement.
Commanding Officer Capt. 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 decided to make a not-so-subtle “OK” gesture in front of the rolling cameras.
Early last year, the once innocuous hand gesture became synonymous with the white power movement. It started off as a 4chan “prank” to convince mainstream media outlets that the gesture had been hijacked by white supremacists, but eventually, it became legitimately appropriated by members of the white nationalist alt-right movement.
The moment was captured by several eagle-eyed viewers and subsequently went viral on Twitter, as many called for the member’s firing.
Well, that was about as subtle as a train wreck, on a boat.
— Michael Ⓜ️ (@michaelschweitz) September 14, 2018
Did you all see this guy flash White Power on TV? OUR OWN COAST GUARD!!! This needs to be investigated and this man needs to be ousted/removed/discharged!
— Jann Gobble (@jgobble) September 14, 2018
Coast Guard Lt. J.B. Zorn later gave a statement that the unidentified man had been removed from duty and that the incident is currently 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.”
Likewise, the official U.S. Coast Guard Twitter account released a similar statement. “His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard,” it read, unequivocally.
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
Last week, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s team member Zina Bash came under fire for making the symbol during a confirmation hearing. Now that the news is out on the OK gesture, it looks like the alt-right will have to come up with more creative ways to own the libs.
H/T NBC News
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.