Universal Orlando actor fired after flashing hate symbol

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Ice

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I feel terrible for that actor who lost their job.Those of us who regularly used that symbol as a joke before some people started affiliating it with "white pride" know what it really means, and it is so unfortunate how DRASTICALLY misunderstood that symbol has become. I've done a lot of readings on how this symbol came to be affiliated with what it is now affiliated with, and it is an unfortunate circumstance.

Those of us who have used it for years upon years use it daily as a dumbass reference for "butthole", where you hold it down below your waist and get people to look at it. It is a game between friends that bled into media when it became large, and media misinterpreted the "conservative youth" playing this game with their friends via newspaper images, social media posts, and news interviews as a way of spreading hate and white pride.

One can say this is an inappropriate game to be playing in the context of a Universal actor in a character photo, and for that I am inclined to agree. It is most inappropriate to hold up an analogy for "butthole" in a children's character photo. It is just unfortunate how this individual will now be labelled (and Universal Studios) as not opposing hate.
 
Apr 22, 2019
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I feel terrible for that actor who lost their job.Those of us who regularly used that symbol as a joke before some people started affiliating it with "white pride" know what it really means, and it is so unfortunate how DRASTICALLY misunderstood that symbol has become. I've done a lot of readings on how this symbol came to be affiliated with what it is now affiliated with, and it is an unfortunate circumstance.

Those of us who have used it for years upon years use it daily as a dumbass reference for "butthole", where you hold it down below your waist and get people to look at it. It is a game between friends that bled into media when it became large, and media misinterpreted the "conservative youth" playing this game with their friends via newspaper images, social media posts, and news interviews as a way of spreading hate and white pride.

One can say this is an inappropriate game to be playing in the context of a Universal actor in a character photo, and for that I am inclined to agree. It is most inappropriate to hold up an analogy for "butthole" in a children's character photo. It is just unfortunate how this individual will now be labelled (and Universal Studios) as not opposing hate.
Just so I understand. Are you saying that this symbol has never been used by white supremacists for white supremacist reasons? I'm asking this genuinely. I don't know the answer. Either way it sounds extremely inappropriate and the person in the suit certainly deserved to be fired.
 
Jun 13, 2011
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That's absolutely ridiculous. 👌

What's next, getting rid of the emoji? Or is it only racist if it's looked at from a certain perspective (physically, and mentally too, I guess)?
 
Apr 22, 2019
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That's absolutely ridiculous. 👌

What's next, getting rid of the emoji? Or is it only racist if it's looked at from a certain perspective (physically, and mentally too, I guess)?
[In ASL] "Asshole" is usually an "F" handshape placed in front of your abdomen with the circle part on top and the top of your hand pointing downwards."

I.e. an upside down OK symbol by your hip. Plus that it means this was verified above. So, no, not the right-side up Ok symbol, and positioning matters. So they were flashing this asshole symbol in front of a child. No idea if it was intended to be some white supremacist thing, but either way it was highly inappropriate and certainly could get you fired.
 
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Ice

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It wasn't originally used as a white supremacist symbol. When it was affiliated with such people (conservative youth joking about it publicly), and it became "known" as a symbol of hate, it started being used in that context by people wanting a reaction.

I'm sure since the meaning has been misdiagnosed there has been SOMEONE who used it in a malicious manner, but until that way of using it is unrefutably obvious, I'll always give someone the benefit of the doubt of just showing me butthole.

As far as the origin, it did start being upside down below the hip. That's the root of the joke. But as it got more popular, the rules become more lax (as such with everything that goes mainstream) and it became any orientation of the symbol.

But as I said I agree flashing butthole at a child is inappropriate. However, as someone who has participated PROFUSELY in this joke over the years, it's a good fucking meme. And I'd be quite frustrated if my ill-advised immature joke came across as white supremacist support.
 
Apr 22, 2019
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However, as someone who has participated PROFUSELY in this joke over the years, it's a good fucking meme. And I'd be quite frustrated if my ill-advised immature joke came across as white supremacist support.
It's not the first time white supremacists have taken over the meaning of a symbol. Nobody now sees the swastika and thinks it means ‘Well Being’, ‘Good Existence, and ‘Good Luck’. So I'm sorry your juvenile joke is ruined, but well, it would seem that it is.
 

warfelg

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I can’t be the only one that thinks of the finger in the circle game when I see it right?
 
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Lolers

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If the actor meant it as a hate symbol, the firing was appropriate. But this story lacks any detail about the circumstances surrounding the photo, or the actor's side of the story if he provided one. Isn't it possible his hand was still in motion when the photo was taken, and that was simply the position of his fingers during that fraction of a second? Or maybe his thumb itched and he was scratching it with his index finger? If there was any sort of investigation, I would hope the conclusion was drawn based on more information than simply a fraction of a second captured in a photo.

Disclaimer: I'm neither defending nor supporting what was written in the article, just wishing there was more detail to support a solid conclusion.
 

SukaUniFl

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Yeah it is all over the news stations down here. On one hand when they showed the pic, if you ge t the whole view of the incident one of the little girls is also holding up that symbol. Yes, someone was offended or just wanted to make it look like the actor was making gang signs.so, yes for that he is fired. Second, if they look and see the one girl is making the same sign. So, he should go to the union I believe they have here if florida for actors. Although, I think that the Union for actors is at Disney. The parks down here are very strict about character actors can do and how to do it.Plus, working at Universal we all get special training on Autism and the different scopes and also get a few strict things on how you respond to guest.

So, Bye Felicia to the actor who did the throwing up the signs while in character. I wish BGW would of been very more respectful when I was called out at Tempesto, and hearing TM"s not only calling other gay people out including me, but did absolutely nothing.
 
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Mushroom

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if you ge t the whole view of the incident one of the little girls is also holding up that symbol. Yes, someone was offended or just wanted to make it look like the actor was making gang signs
If this is true, the firing is completely unjustified in my opinion. In this case the actor was merely imitating the child for a fun photo op. You know, their job.
 

Zachary

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I'm totally with @Lolers: We just really don't know enough to conclude anything here.

If the photo we've all seen was the only evidence that resulted in his firing, I think that is completely unacceptable.

If, however, he bragged to coworkers about doing it before or after the fact, admitted to doing it "as a joke" or whatever to someone when approached, had a history of inappropriate, offensive behavior on his record, had been previously warned about the symbol in some sort of employee training, etc. this action seems 100% justified.

There are a million and one context details that we lack—and they completely make or break where I stand on this story.

EDIT: I did some more Googling and USA Today has a video of the incident. It looks VERY deliberate to me. Definitely siding with Universal here...

 
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Mushroom

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There is literally nothing in that video that suggests it was a deliberate display of white supremacy.
 
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Zachary

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I don't think it matters at all if it was a deliberate display of white supremacy. Presumably Universal, like Disney, has very strict rules about how characters are to interact with guests—one of which is almost certainly to avoid any non-pre-approved signs or gestures. I don't think it matters what the actor meant by it, only that he intentionally displayed an unapproved hand sign for the camera.

The photo didn't show me that it was an intentional gesture. Cameras catch unintentional and unfortunate freeze-frames of movement all the time that can suggest things that the larger activity would immediately invalidate. That said, the video clearly depicts the actor making that sign and then consciously holding that gesture for a series of photos. Regardless of the meaning, there's no way that behavior isn't against Uni's costumed character policy and hence, a just reason for termination.


In this case the actor was merely imitating the child for a fun photo op. You know, their job.
@SukaUniFl: Is there any evidence of this? I've been searching and haven't found anything yet.
 
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Mushroom

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It’s also a symbol that for years was universally accepted as the “OK” symbol, something people posed in pictures with in the same way as a peace sign. Unless Universal literally tells their employees “don't use the OK symbol as it has been used by extremist groups,” and maybe they did, I don’t think it’s fair for Universal to expect some random front-line employee to be up-to-date on what everyday gesture the Anti-Defamation League has recently added to their website.
 

Zachary

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One imagines Universal provides a whitelist of approved gustures and signs and anything outside of that pre-authorized list would be a violation of policy, no? The idea that Universal maintains a blacklist of banned symbols and they allow their costumed characters to make and display any hand sign not on said list seems outlandish to me personally.
 

Lolers

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There is literally nothing in that video that suggests it was a deliberate display of white supremacy.
I guess you could argue the actor just placed his hand that way without even thinking about it, but doesn't Universal (and WDW, etc.) have very strict training and rules for their characters? I know nothing about character training, but I'd imagine it would include a substantial amount of time teaching actors what not to do while in character, including a long list of gestures that could be perceived as insensitive regardless of whether the gesture were intentional on the actor's part. Since visitors come from all around the globe, it would seem such a list of forbidden gestures would include insensitive ones from throughout the world, not just those in the U.S. If such a high level of training is provided by Universal, I would assume that whether the gesture was deliberate on the actor's part wouldn't make a difference. Based on the video, I can understand how there would be grounds for firing, regardless of intent, if the actor clearly placed their hand in a way that went against policy based on their training - again, if such training exists. I'm only speculating.
 
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