‘OK’ Is Now a Hate Symbol, the ADL Says

The “OK” hand gesture is now a hate symbol, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL added that symbol along with several others on Thursday to its long-standing database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.

The two-finger OK sign is universally known for meaning everything is all right or approval of something. But the ADL says while not everyone means it to be hateful, the sign has been co-opted by the alt-right.

The OK hand gesture and its link to white nationalism began as a hoax cooked up by users of the website 4chan, who falsely linked it to white supremacy, according to the ADL.

It was meant to bait the media or people with liberal ideals to overreact, ADL experts say, and therefore look ridiculous for condemning such an innocuous sign. But in 2019, the sign was adopted by some white nationalists.

“At least some white supremacists seem to have abandoned the ironic or satiric intent behind the original trolling campaign and used the symbol as a sincere expression of white supremacy,” the ADL posted in its report.

Their experts point to Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who stands accused of massacring 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in March. Tarrant is pictured using the OK symbol during a courtroom appearance soon after his arrest. Tarrant has pleaded not guilty.

“We believe law enforcement and the public needs to be fully informed about the meaning of these images, which can serve as a first warning sign to the presence of haters in a community or school,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO said in a statement.

Other New Symbols of Hate

Also added to their new list of hate symbols — Dylan Roof’s bowlcut, the “Happy Merchant” and “Moon Man” images.

The bowl cut image or emoji is used by white supremacists to symbolize Roof, who shot to death nine black people in 2015 as they prayed in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The “Happy Merchant” depicts an extreme stereotype of a Jewish man rubbing his hands together, which is meant to symbolize greed.

“Moon Man” is a play on a 1980’s era MacDonald’s commercial that featured a man wearing a crescent moon costume. White supremacists use the character to make videos where he raps using racist rhetoric.

The slogan Diversity = White Genocide has also been added.

“These are the latest calling cards of hate,” Mark Pitcavage, Senior Fellow in ADL’s Center on Extremism said. “We pay special attention to those symbols that exhibit staying power as well as those that move from online usage into the real world.”


  • not_pennysltucky (@ds18301)

    It’s not about one being able to use or the OK sign or not — you snowflakes!. That is the typical of the red herring/gas lighting comments that abound here….It’s about the hate itself that is being promulgated by those who scrream at us (falsely) that this is a “christian” nation but then act like nothing like a christian….The problem is not in any way the wrapping of an index finger to one’s thumb, but the rise of those who view wrapping their finger around a trigger and taking innocent lives solely because of someone’s race, color or creed as their right…. Of course the typical commenters here haven’t the least bit of concern about that…. But if a teenage black/brown kid robs a candy bar, the comments fly about how the world is coming to an end. Sad.

    • yabbadabbadude

      You need to take your complaints to the Tribune Media Wire, because that’s exactly what the headline reads.


      Hmm, who else on this board uses the word ‘snowflakes’…

      The world is coming to an end some day.

      And people shouldn’t be stealing candy bars.

      So – where are all these innocent lives being taken because of color? Oh wait, I remember – Chicago! Thanks for the reminder.

  • savescrantonhistory

    Context is everything. Yes. These groups can use such gestures. Yet at the same time for those who feel we should all stop using them because X or Y group does I have a gesture for all of you. It’s the universal sign for you’re number one, only with the next finger down from the index one.

  • Denpachii

    (Your comment is awaiting moderation. Reported by a hate group?)
    I propose that any organisation that push for creating new hate speech / symbols for no other reason than that they can, be reported as a hate group.

    • yabbadabbadude

      You’re absolutely right about the hate group removing your comments. It’s the ever-tolerant lefties that post here regularly. They all flag comments that they don’t agree with and have them removed. Do the same right back to them.

      • Rusty Knyffe

        They “report comment(s)” because they have too much time on their hands, develop a hate-boner, and then obsess about how satisfied they’ll feel (it’s all about feelings, you see) when specific posters are deleted, making THEM the victor! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s petty, trite, and sophomoric, which is exactly how all leftist wingnuts behave.

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