A new report from The Daily Mail is accusing a White House intern of using a “white power hand sign” in a photo with President Trump, with a report in The Hill calling it “a sign that has been adopted by far-right groups in recent months.” It’s also the universal hand sign for “OK’.
Claiming that putting one’s thumb and forefinger together, leaving the last three fingers up means “white power” began as a joke in February, when 4chan users launched “Operation O-KKK“. They aimed to “flood Twitter and other social media websites” with posts claiming the OK hand symbol was a “symbol of white supremacy,” along with a picture of an OK symbol identifying the three up-turned fingers as a symbol for “W” and the thumb-and-forefinger circle as a symbol for “P”.
Jack Breuer, a recent college graduate who interned at the White House this fall, “flashed” the symbol in a photo taken with the rest of the White House interns and President Trump, the Daily Mail first reported Thursday.
The interns were instructed to give Trump’s signature thumbs-up sign with their hands, but Breuer made the “okay” sign instead. Or did he? According to The Hill, the intern “is seen toward the back of the photo making the letter shapes of ‘w’ and ‘p’ with his right hand.”
“White nationalists and far-right activists were seen using the symbol at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer, where one woman was killed in the protests against the march. Self-described white supremacist Richard Spencer, who organized the march, has frequently shown the sign at public events,” wrote the Hill.
One fellow intern told reporters that Breuer, who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, is “a good kid and is probably doing it as a joke.”
“It is a distinct symbol known in alt-right circles and what makes it worse is that he is doing it in the East Room just below the portrait of George Washington,” another intern told the Daily Mail.
Twitter users are either falling for the joke or pointing out the folly in the fact that it started on 4chan. Photos of all sorts of people, including former President Barack Obama and Eddie Murphy (who made the “okay sign” go viral with his portrayal of “Buckwheat” on Saturday Night Live back in the day).
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) December 28, 2017
Eddie Murphy invents the “white power” hand sign 30 years ago
Obama first prsident to use it. pic.twitter.com/RpNdyPe1YQ
— Pampzilla (@pampzilla) December 29, 2017
I know, I took deaf-ed. But this particular White Power hand sign nonsense was literally started as a troll for a laugh, and they’re still doing it. The point was to show in no way does that hand sign mean anything close to that.
— Alexander (@144Knight) December 29, 2017
“Despite members of the alt-right adopting the gesture, the Anti-Defamation League has deemed the sign to not represent a hate symbol.”
— Safonda (@Patriotpssy) December 29, 2017
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