Coast Guard member flashes white power signal during live broadcast

Member of Coast Guard’s hurricane response team ‘flashes white power symbol’ during live MSNBC broadcast – and is immediately removed from his post by bosses

  • A Coast Guard member appeared to make the hand gesture for white power
  • The incident happened on Friday night during a live MSNBC broadcast 
  • As Captain John Reed talks about response efforts in South Carolina, the unnamed Coast Guard member quickly flashes the ‘OK’ hand signal
  • The ‘OK’ sign is widely associated with the alt-right
  • The man was removed from response duty and the incident is being investigated

The Coast Guard said a member of its 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 with Velshi, a Coast Guard member sitting at a table behind the captain is seen in the video quickly giving the ‘OK’ sign, a once innocuous hand signal that is now widely associated with the alt-right. 

The Coast Guard said it was investigating an incident involving a member (circled) who made an ‘offense’ hand gesture during a news broadcast 

The unnamed Coast Guard member was seen quickly flashing what appeared to be the sign for white power 

The Coast Guard released a statement on Twitter Friday night saying they were aware of the ‘offensive’ gesture and the Coast Guard member, who has not been named, was removed from response duties. 

‘His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard,’ the tweet read. 

Coast Guard Lt. J.B. 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. 

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The Coast Guard member was pulled from hurricane response, a tweeted statement read 

‘”Removed from response?” I hope this is just the beginning of serious disciplinary action and termination!’ Twitter user Dawn Able 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,’ a Twitter user who goes by the name Don’Beababy wrote. 

Twitter user Kitty wrote: ‘Fire him. or you are also complicit’. 

Other people, however, came to the Coast Guard member’s defense saying he was not making the white power signal.    

The incident happened while a Coast Guard captain was talking about response efforts in South Carolina. Pictured is a damaged building in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Friday 

‘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. 

It’s unclear how the OK signal – index and thumb in a circle with the other fingers pointing up – became associated with white power. 

The Outline suggests that it could be tied to an alt-right meme of the cartoon Pepe the Frog holding his hand up making the gesture. The cartoon frog was adopted by white supremacists.

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