NBC Blurs ‘OK’ Hand Sign, Claims It’s a White Nationalist Symbol

By Zachary Stieber

The openly liberal NBC network blurred a man doing the “OK” hand sign at a baseball game, claiming that the hand sign was a white nationalist symbol.

Reporter Elisha Fieldstadt wrote that the Chicago Cubs fan “appeared to flash a ‘white power’ hand gesture behind a black sports reporter.”

The gesture is “often associated with the white supremacist movement,” she claimed.

The sole citation she used to support the claim was from the Anti-Defamation League, which said in a blog post that the hand gesture “is an obvious and ancient gesture that has arisen in many cultures over the years with different meanings.”

“Today, in a usage that dates to at least as early as 17th century Great Britain, it most commonly signals understanding, consent, approval or well-being. Since the early 1800s, the gesture increasingly became associated with the word ‘okay’ and its abbreviation ‘ok.'”

A young man makes the “OK” hand sign in a 1950s file photo. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

According to the league, the gesture was purported to be a white nationalist hand gesture by users on the website 4chan, who routinely attempt to dupe media outlets into reporting on false stories.

“The ‘okay’ gesture hoax was merely the latest in a series of similar 4chan hoaxes using various innocuous symbols; in each case, the hoaxers hoped that the media and liberals would overreact by condemning a common image as white supremacist,” the league stated.

In a twist, a number of right-leaning figures started using the gesture to troll people, the group said. It also claimed that some white supremacists began using the gesture. “By 2019, at least some white supremacists seem to have abandoned the ironic or satiric intent behind the original trolling campaign and used the symbol as a sincere expression of white supremacy,” it said.

Still, the group warned: “Because of the traditional meaning of the ‘okay’ hand gesture, as well as other usages unrelated to white supremacy, particular care must be taken not to jump to conclusions about the intent behind someone who has used the gesture.”

After the baseball fan used the gesture during a live broadcast, Crane Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations, said that the team launched an investigation into the person.

Kenney said that the team was not able to reach the fan to ascertain their motives for using the common hand gesture and had decided to ban the fan indefinitely.

“After a review of last night’s broadcast footage, we concluded this individual’s actions violated the Guest Code of Conduct,” Kenney stated.

“As a result, after repeated attempts to reach this individual by phone, we sent a letter to the individual notifying him of our findings and our decision that, effectively immediately, he will not be permitted on the grounds of Wrigley Field or other ticketed areas indefinitely. We further communicated if he attempts to enter Wrigley Field or other ticketed areas he may be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass to property.”

Despite Kenney clearly stating that the fan hadn’t been reached, NBC claimed that the fan: “flashed ‘white power’ symbol on air.”

Neither the baseball team nor the network disclosed how they ascertained the fan meant the symbol as a hate gesture versus the much more common, traditional usage. A number of social media users slammed NBC for the story, including independent journalist Tim Pool, who wrote “We know it was part of a hoax. They don’t care.”

The allegations of using the symbol as a hate gesture have smeared people in the past, including Zina Bash, a former Trump administration official who works in the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

After she was accused of making the symbol by activists last year, her husband took to Twitter to admonish them, noted the conservative Fox News website.

“The attacks today on my wife are repulsive. Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves. We weren’t even familiar with the hateful symbol being attributed to her for the random way she rested her hand during a long hearing,” U.S. Attorney John Bash wrote.

“Zina is Mexican on her mother’s side and Jewish on her father’s side. She was born in Mexico. Her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. We of course have nothing to do with hate groups, which aim to terrorize and demean other people—never have and never would.”