The Daily Mail has published an article citing a 4chan hoax to accuse a former White House intern of supporting white supremacy after he was pictured using the OK hand-sign.
In their article, the Daily Mail cited a 4chan hoax, which has been debunked by numerous organizations, in an attempt to associate former intern Jack Breuer with “white power” and white nationalists.
“The gesture – which only makes sense if made with the right hand, although there are examples of people making it with their left hand – is said to depict the letter ‘W’ with the outstretched middle, ring and little fingers, and a ‘P’ with the circle made by the thumb and forefinger stretching down to the wrist. Together ‘WP’ stands for White Power,” the Daily Mail‘s Martin Gould claimed.
It wasn’t until the end of his article that Gould acknowledged the fact that the Anti Defamation League (ADL) debunked the hoax earlier this year.
“Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger ‘OK’ hand gesture become a white supremacist hand sign? Well, no, it hasn’t, but you are likely to hear just the opposite from social media, thanks to the latest hoax from members of notorious website 4chan,” reported the ADL in May. “There is little that 4channers like so much as a hoax and in recent months they have served up a number of fakeries with white supremacist themes to largely credulous on-line audiences.”
“The ‘OK’ hand gesture hoax originated in February 2017 when an anonymous 4channer announced ‘Operation O-KKK,’ telling other members that ‘we must flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy.’ The user even provided a helpful graphic showing how the letters WP (for ‘white power’) could be traced within an ‘OK’ gesture,” they explained. “The ‘OK’ hoax was actually just the most recent in a recent series of hoaxes in which 4channers (and members of other, similar places on the Internet such as 8chan and Reddit) have tried to take innocuous items, symbols or gestures and falsely attribute white supremacist meanings to them in order to fool liberals and get them to spread such false messages.”
In his own statement, Breuer claimed he used the hand-sign as a reference to President Trump’s use of a similar gesture during his campaign speeches.
“In some of our intern pictures, I emulated the OK sign the President sometimes makes. That was foolish. I should have listened more closely to the Commander-in-Chief and given the thumbs up,” Breuer said in a statement. “I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and strongly reject the hateful views associated with racist white power organizations. I would never make common cause with them.”
The hand-sign has been used by supporters of President Trump long before the 4chan hoax as a way to show their support for the president.