The parents of a mixed-race six-year-old girl are outraged after a costumed employee at Universal Orlando Resort made an “OK” symbol on their daughter’s shoulder while posing for pictures, USA Today reports. The hand sign is viewed by some as a white supremacy symbol.
Colorado parents Tiffiney and Richard Zinger say that, in March, they were at the popular Central Florida destination when they decided to stop by one of the resort’s on-site hotels, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, for a character meal. Tiffiney says that the kids just wanted to see the Minions, the cute characters from the Despicable Me franchise.
Unfortunately, Tiffiney says, the incident was marred by a costumed character performer, dressed as Gru, the main human character in the films. The kids were directed by a handler to the characters, as is customary at these things, and as the kids posed for the pictures, the actor portraying Gru put his right hand on the six-year-old girl’s right shoulder. However, as the pictures were being snapped, the actor put his index finger to his thumb to make the “OK” symbol.
A close-up of the actor’s hand making the signal on the girl’s shoulder has been making the rounds on Twitter.
The “OK” hand sign has been around for decades and, until recently, had the most anodyne of meanings. However, according to The Anti Defamation League, it has been corrupted by the white supremacy movement. The three extended fingers visually represent the letter W, and the circle formed by the thumb and index finger visually represent the circular portion of the letter P — WP for White Power. The group has deemed that the hand sign is now a white supremacy symbol.
The Zingers certainly see it that way.
“It’s more than the ‘OK’ sign. A lot of people don’t understand what that sign means,” Richard said.
Now, the family is trying to explain to their young daughter why she can’t show her second grade classmates her picture of the time she got to pose with Gru and the Minions.
Universal Orlando, for its part, says that the actor who made the symbol has been fired. In a statement, the company said that this type of behavior is not acceptable.
“We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again… We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right,” the statement reads in part.