Zina Bash White Power Sign Controversy

Part of a series on OK Symbol 👌.

by Don Caldwell

About

The “OK” Symbol is a hand gesture typically used to signal that “all is well.” The symbol has been frequently associated with supporters of the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump, with some speculating it is used by members of the alt-right to mimic a Smug Frog depiction of Pepe the Frog. Additionally, the symbol has been accused of being a symbol for “white power” following a 4chan hoax operation to trick news media outlets into reporting that it is a symbol of white supremacy.

Origin

Throughout many parts of the world, the hand gesture made when connected one’s thumb and index finger into a circle while holding three finger straight up is considering synonymous with the word “OK,” signifying that “all is well.”

the circle game hand gesture ok symbol illustrated
 

Circle Game

The circle game is a prank which involves tricking someone into looking at their hand while performing the OK gesture below the waist, leading the prankster to hit them as punishment.

Association with Trump Support

On April 9th, 2015, conservative Viner Pizza Party Ben[1] posted a video of himself making an OK hand gesture while saying “We should chill” with the description “White guys be like” (shown below, left). Sometime during the 2016 United States presidential election, Pizza Party Ben and Milo Yiannopoulos began making the gesture together at various events supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump (shown below, right).

Party Ben Los Angeles fashion accessory chin smile photography headgear forehead cool ir Milo Yiannopoulos Donald Trump
 

Spread

On November 9th, 2016, Yiannopoulos posted a photograph of himself standing with Viner Mike Ma making the hand gesture at Donald Trump’s election night party following the 2016 United States presidential election. On December 3rd, Malik Obama tweeted a picture of himself making the symbol while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, along with the caption “I look like Pepe the Frog” (shown below). Within four months, the tweet gained over 14,000 likes and 7,400 retweets.

Malik Obama @obamaMalik I look like Pepe the Frog MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGATN RETWEETS LIKES 7,730 14,113 10:36 AM- 3 Dec 2016

On February 13th, 2017, Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft tweeted a photograph of himself and White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich standing behind the White House press briefing room lectern while making the hand gesture (shown below). That day, the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters published an article about the photograph, accusing the gesture of being a “hate symbol.” Meanwhile, the official Media Matter Twitter account tweeted the article, calling the gesture a “racist Pepe hand signal.” That day, several Twitter users mocked Media Matters for labeling the gesture a symbol of hate.Jim Hoft Follow @gatewaypundit Jim Hoft and Lucian Wintrich at White House Press Room #Pepe @gatewaypundit @lucianwintrich RETWEETSLIKES 84- 225 12:55 PM 13 Feb 2017 84225 Media Matters Follow F A Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit used their first visit to White House press briefing room to flash racist Pepe hand signal: mm4a.org/2kpCMS3 @mmfa ★ ★ヤ Gateway Pundit's New White House Correspondent Spent First Day Flashing Hate Symbol From The Briefing Room RETWEETS LIKES 70 45 11:32 AM- 14 Feb 2017 16 70 45

 

On March 7th, 2017, the news site Mediaite published an article titled “Is That Cute Kid Trump Met at the White House Today Making the Pepe Symbol?,” highlighting a video of a young student making the hand symbol while visiting the White House (shown below, left). On March 10th, Twitter user Ian Miles Chong tweeted photographs of several celebrities making the gesture, along with the joke “Look at all these white supremacists giving the ‘white power’ sign smh” (shown below, right).

SPAN C-span.org Donald Trump White House suit official profession Look at all these white supremacists giving the "white power" sign smh.
 

On April 11th, 2017, YouTuber FaceLikeTheSun uploaded a satirical video about conservative writer Mike Cernovich, claiming that the OK gesture was a symbol for the satanic number “666” (shown below).

Operation O-KKK

In February 2017, 4chan users launched Operation O-KKK 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” (shown below).[12]

File: IMG 2263 ipg (75 KB, 1073x531) O INTRODUCING: OPERATION O.KKK Anonymous (ID: GqQUAU8x )闉 02 27/1 7(Mon)03.32. 18 No.114482325圖▶ 22114482375 >2114482572 22114483103 white 114488197 1144896142114489933 2114490057 114490153 114491182 >>114493296 >>114493406 >>114493456»114493554»114493725 »1144337 We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy. Make fake accounts with basic white girl names and type shit like: OMG that's so truuuuu Use as many emojis as you please. It would also be good for us to associate the OK sign being a symbol of white supremacy because Mel Gibson used it. Use the hashtag "#PowerHandPrivilege" in all of your tweets and whatnot related to this. Bonus points if your profile pic is something related to supporting feminism Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy We must force to dig more, until the rest of society aint going anywhere near that shit
 

On April 28th, 2017, Fusion reporter Emma Roller retweeted a photo of reporter Cassandra Fairbanks along with the caption “Just two people doing a white power hand gesture in the White House” (shown below, left). Within 72 hours, the tweet gained over 7,000 likes and 6,700 retweets. That same day, Roller tweeted the “white power” OP-KKK image as evidence (shown below, right).

Emma Roller @emmaroller Follow just two people doing a white power hand gesture in the White House Cassandra Fairbanks @CassandraRules 부もwith @Cernovich TE HOUS RETWEETS LIKES 6,764 7,062 11:07 PM 28 Apr 2017 Emma Roller @emmaroller for reference adl.org/education/refe white power RETWEETS LIKES 1,590 1,950 11:15 PM-28 Apr 2017
 

The following day, journalist Tim Pool retweeted Roller with the comment “Journalism is dead,” which received upwards of 9,000 likes and 4,100 retweets within 48 hours. Also on April 29th, Pool posted a video titled “4chan Has Become Too Powerful,” which discussed the ease at which 4chan succeeded in the operation (shown below).

 

Operation O-KKK

In February 2017, 4chan users launched Operation O-KKK 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” (shown below).[12]

File: IMG 2263 ipg (75 KB, 1073x531) O INTRODUCING: OPERATION O.KKK Anonymous (ID: GqQUAU8x )闉 02 27/1 7(Mon)03.32. 18 No.114482325圖▶ 22114482375 >2114482572 22114483103 white 114488197 1144896142114489933 2114490057 114490153 114491182 >>114493296 >>114493406 >>114493456»114493554»114493725 »1144337 We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy. Make fake accounts with basic white girl names and type shit like: OMG that's so truuuuu Use as many emojis as you please. It would also be good for us to associate the OK sign being a symbol of white supremacy because Mel Gibson used it. Use the hashtag "#PowerHandPrivilege" in all of your tweets and whatnot related to this. Bonus points if your profile pic is something related to supporting feminism Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy We must force to dig more, until the rest of society aint going anywhere near that shit
 

On April 28th, 2017, Fusion reporter Emma Roller retweeted a photo of reporter Cassandra Fairbanks along with the caption “Just two people doing a white power hand gesture in the White House” (shown below, left). Within 72 hours, the tweet gained over 7,000 likes and 6,700 retweets. That same day, Roller tweeted the “white power” OP-KKK image as evidence (shown below, right).

Emma Roller @emmaroller Follow just two people doing a white power hand gesture in the White House Cassandra Fairbanks @CassandraRules 부もwith @Cernovich TE HOUS RETWEETS LIKES 6,764 7,062 11:07 PM 28 Apr 2017 Emma Roller @emmaroller for reference adl.org/education/refe white power RETWEETS LIKES 1,590 1,950 11:15 PM-28 Apr 2017
 

The following day, journalist Tim Pool retweeted Roller with the comment “Journalism is dead,” which received upwards of 9,000 likes and 4,100 retweets within 48 hours.[8] Also on April 29th, Pool posted a video titled “4chan Has Become Too Powerful,” which discussed the ease at which 4chan succeeded in the operation (shown below)

 

 

On April 30th, The Independent published an article claiming the “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) characterises the symbol as a ‘racist hand sign’,” citing an entry in the ADL database of a woman holding a hand in the form of a “W” next to a hand formed to make the letter “P” (shown below). That day, BuzzFeed published an article titled “The Trump Internet Keeps Making Fake Hate Symbols, And People Keep Falling For It.”

White Power (hand sign) General Hate Symbols Racist Hand Signs Some white supremacists, particularly in California, may use a two-handed handsign in which one hand forms the letter "W" and the other hand forms the letter "P," to represent WP or "White Power."
 

Cernovich’s Response

On May 2nd, The Observer published an article written by 4chan moderator Jay Irwin, which included a statement from Cernovich denying any knowledge of the “white power” association and claiming that it was initially inspired by Jay Z and Beyoncé:

“It started off as a joke about Jay Z. He and Beyoncé used to do it, and some said it was an Illuminati symbol. We started doing it as a joke, and it took on a life of its own.”

Beyoncé Jay Z On the Run Tour fashion
 

Kanye West Photo

On April 25th, 2018, Kanye West tweeted a photograph of himself posing with two men while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, with one of the men making the OK symbol gesture (shown below).[15] Within two hours, the tweet gained over 59,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

KANYE WEST @kanyewest we got love AGAIN
 

That day, the progressive news blog Think Progress[16] published an article titled “Just what kind of hand gesture is in Kanye’s latest tweet?” Meanwhile, Twitter user Krang T. Nelson posted the photo juxtaposed with a screen capture from the 2017 horror film Get Out (shown below).[17]

KT NELSON @KrangTNelson AGAIN
 

Zina Bash

On September 4th, 2018, footage of Zina Bash seated behind Kavanaugh at the hearing began circulating on Twitter, with some accusing her of intentionally making a “white power” gesture with her hand (shown below).

Coast Guard Employee

On September 14th, 2018, Twitter user @huppkels tweeted a video showing a member of the coast guard placing his thumb and index finger together on the side of her head in the background of an MSNBC interview with the Coast Guard’s Sector Charleston Commanding Officer Capt. John Reed

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