A member of the US Coast Guard Team responding to Hurricane Florence has been removed from duty after a video of him making what appears to be a symbol representing white supremacy went viral.
The man was removed from response operations and the incident is under investigation, Coast Guard Lt. J B Zorn told NBC News.
A captain was being interviewed about the relief efforts in South Carolina when a man behind him in a red shirt flashed the ‘ok’ sign, which has been associated with ‘White Power.’ He seems to be doing it secretly, but people quickly noticed online.
People are calling for the unnamed man to be fired.
The US Coast Guard quickly apologised.
Whatever the symbol means, it doesn’t reflect the Coast Guard and our core values. It won’t be tolerated.
Coast Guard officials have not identified the man and refused to discuss the possibility of disciplinary action, NBC News reports.
The symbol originated on 4chan and has been used by people on the far right – including those who identify as white supremacists. It spread as a viral troll campaign aimed at making liberals and the media look gullible. 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 wrote.