A Coast Guard staffer working on the Hurricane Florence response effort was relieved of his duty following a hand gesture he flashed during an on-air interview.
The unidentified employee was sitting in the background as his boss spoke to an MSNBC reporter last week. He could be seen making the “OK” symbol with his hand, a sign that has been co-opted in recent months by white supremacists.
Though the symbol initially gained traction online as a joke, it is now being treated more seriously — including by the Coast Guard.
“We are aware of the offensive video on twitter – the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response,” the branch wrote. “His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.”