CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– A U.S. Coast Guard member is accused of flashing a controversial hand sign while a fellow member was being interviewed live on MSNBC about the federal agency’s Tropical Storm Florence response.
The hand signal closely resembles the “OK” hand gesture but has been used by hate groups to symbolize “white power”.
“As to the individual’s intent, we are unsure, but he demonstrated exceptionally poor judgment regardless,” said LT Amy Midgett with the Coast Guard.
The gesture caused backlash on Twitter after it was captured on MSNBC’s “Live with Ali Velshi.”
The Coast Guard first responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying that the unidentified man had been removed from his position.
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
The Coast Guard says they have launched a full investigation into the matter.
“He has been removed from response operations and a full investigation has been opened. We will let the investigation play out. As to the individual’s intent, we are unsure, but he demonstrated exceptionally poor judgment regardless,” said Midgett.
The Coast Guard has been at the forefront of rescue efforts following Hurricane Florence’s landfall in North Carolina.
“Our investigative service will manage the investigation and the Coast Guard will continue to focus all of our efforts on responding to the impacts of Florence and rescuing people in need,” said Midgett.