A Hispanic man living in California was fired from his job at San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) over a social media post claiming he used a “white supremacist” hand sign.
A driver on the road took a picture of Emmanuel Cafferty’s arm hanging out of one of the company’s trucks and posted the image to Twitter, claiming he was “flashing” a white supremacist sign.
The Twitter post, which has now been deleted, alleged Cafferty used the hand symbol near a Black Lives Matter rally in Poway, California.
“It’s scary that you can be charged, tried and convicted on social media, without your permission, with no corroborating evidence, of any type,” Cafferty told NBC 7 San Diego.
Cafferty says he had never even heard of the “OK” hand sign being associated with “white supremacy,” and that he was just cracking his knuckles.
“I do that a lot when I’m driving. It has no racist intent behind it,” he explained. “To lose your dream job for playing with your fingers… that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
In fact, Cafferty is Mexican American and says he comes from a diverse family of all races.
The claim that the “OK” hand gesture is racist originated on 4chan after trolls tricked gullible liberals into believing it stood for “white power.”
The prank ended up working too well as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center ended up declaring the hand sign as a hateful symbol with messages linked to white supremacy.
Cafferty’s supervisor called him after the photo surfaced online and informed him he was suspended pending an investigation and a few days later, he was fired.
“We conducted a good faith and thorough investigation that included gathering relevant information and multiple interviews, and took appropriate action,” the company said.