In a picture taken in March last year, several members of the Recruit Class 387 could be seen making OK hand signals. The D.C. Fire and EMS recruits in the picture graduated in April.
The picture resurfaced on Facebook, and users were quick to point out that some recruits in the picture were showing “white power” hand gestures.
According to WUSA, the D.C. fire department learned about the photo earlier in the day, and had since launched an investigation.
Doug Buchanan, the D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman, said: “The department has immediately initiated an interview review of the photograph, which may include interviews with everyone pictured in the photograph.”
Many expressed skepticism at the statement, with one user commenting: “And nothing ever gets done about it.”
One D.S. resident told WUSA that they felt “uncomfortable” when they saw the photo, stating that the recruits should have known better. The resident referenced the scandal involving the military students who made similar signs during the Army-Navy football pre-game broadcast.
Some National Activists also took notice of the picture.
However, some users did not see what the big fuss was about, and some stated that the outrage was unfounded.
Some Conservatives even maintained that CBS News was jumping to the wrong conclusions.
Some people commented on the picture, attaching images of liberal non-white celebrities making the same sign.
A number of users recalled the conclusion that was reached in the military students’ case. The Military Academy and the Naval Academy, after carrying out independent investigations, both concluded that the gestures made by the students were not racist. The officials maintained that the students were playing the “circle game.” The game involves tricking others into looking at the sign, and if successful, they are allowed to punch the tricked party in the arm.
In May 2019, a Chicago Cubs fan was banned from the Wrigley Field ballpark indefinitely after making the OK gesture during an NBC Sports broadcast. Crane Kenney, the Cubs President of Business Operations, called the fan’s action “ignorant and repulsive.”
In October, an actor dressed as a “Despicable Me” character was fired by Universal Studios Resort after the actor was accused of displaying the symbol while posing for a picture with a young fan.
The OK hand symbol – made by holding the thumb and forefinger together to form a circle, leaving the other three fingers extended – was added to the Anti-Defamation League’s list of hate symbols.