A member of a U.S. Coast Guard team responding to Tropical Storm Florence in South Carolina appeared to flash a white power hand gesture in the background as a captain was being interviewed Friday by MSNBC.
The man has since been removed from the Florence response operations and the incident is under investigation, said Coast Guard Lt. J.B. Zorn.
“Whatever that symbol means, it doesn’t reflect the Coast Guard and our core values,” Zorn said. “It won’t be tolerated.”
Coast Guard officials wouldn’t identify the man and declined to discuss possible disciplinary action.
He flashed the signal as Capt. John Reed, commander of Florence response efforts in Charleston, South Carolina, was explaining a new tact as the storm changed direction. A man in a red shirt was seen casually displaying the hand signal against the right side of his face as he sat at a table in the background.
We are aware of the offensive video on twitter – the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response. His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.
– U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) September 15, 2018
The Coast Guard has been at the forefront of rescue operations in the Carolinas, where at least five people have died since the storm reached the coastline Friday morning.
“We’re not going to let one person detract from the good work the Coast Guard is doing in the region,” Zorn said. “We’re going to stay focused.”