Two members associated with the alt-right movement have stirred controversy online after flashing a hand symbol in the White House press room that some have claimed is a white supremacist symbol, the Independent reported Sunday.
Cassandra Fairbanks, a reporter for state-owned Russian news agency Sputnik, and freelance journalist and conspiracy enthusiast Mike Cernovich, were snapped making the controversial symbol in the White House media room in May.
The photo was first picked up on in a tweet by Fusion journalist Emma Roller on Saturday.
just two people doing a white power hand gesture in the White House pic.twitter.com/OXlFSGmhN1— Emma Roller (@emmaroller) April 29, 2017
Journalist Cassandra Fairbanks however refuted the claim, citing her Peurto Rican heritage. “White power!!!!!!! Except I'm Puerto Rican. Can it be PR power?!” she tweeted.
While for many the symbol means nothing more than an "a-okay," since a meme depicting the allegedly anti-Semitic Pepe the Frog flashing the symbol began being circulated on alt-right channels on social media in 2015, the symbol has taken on more sinister undertones. Apparently, the three raised fingers form a "W" and the "P" is formed by the index finger and thumb, standing for "white power."
Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character also known as Smug Pepe, was added last year to the ADL's Hate on Display database, joining the ranks of other notorious symbols associated with alt-right such as the (((echo))) symbol that began being used to single out Jewish journalists on social media.
The alt-right movement, known for its rejection of liberal and mainstream conservative values, are considered a strong support base for current U.S. President Donald Trump.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now