'White Supremacist' OK Hand Gesture Removed From 'Call of Duty' Games

The ability to perform an "OK" hand gesture while playing two Call of Duty games has been removed, as fans suggest the decision was due to the symbol's links to white supremacy.

Players of the popular shoot-em-up were previously able to give the gesture while playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

The ability to give the OK symbol was added to the online game along with other gestures such as the thumbs up or a beckoning gesture.

Over the past several days, Call of Duty users have noticed that they can no longer perform the symbol. It was replaced by a new gesture called "crush", with many questioning the decision on Twitter and Reddit.

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The removal of the OK symbol was not mentioned in the game's official patch notes following the update.

Several people on a Reddit thread entitled "RIP to the 'okay' gesture" suggested the removal is because the otherwise innocuous symbol has been co-opted by the far-right as a coded message to show support for white supremacy.

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The linking of the OK hand gesture to white supremacy began as a trolling campaign by users on the controversial message board 4Chan.

"Operation O-KKK" was aimed at tricking people and the media into thinking the gesture-frequently used by President Donald Trump during his public speaking-was actually promoting white supremacy as the fingers spell out WP (white power).

However, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the hoax became so widespread that from 2017, people were using it to tacitly express support for white supremacy, while others continued to use it as a trolling tactic.

In May 2019, a high school in Chicago had to reprint its entire yearbook after they realized several students were photographed giving the hand gesture.

The Oak Park and River Forest High School said the decision was made as the symbol could become "more closely associated with white supremacy in the future" and affect the students' careers.

Two months prior to this, Brenton Tarrant, the New Zealand man who killed 51 people in the Christchurch mosque attacks, flashed an OK hand gesture during his first court appearance.

There have also been a number of cases recently where people have expressed concern or outrage that police officers have been seen flashing the gesture linked to white supremacy at Black Lives Matter protests.

The OK hand gesture was added to the ADL's database of hateful symbols in September 2019.

"Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments," said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL.

Call of Duty's developer Infinity Ward previously announced they will be cracking down on instances of racism taking place during online games, including imposing greater restrictions on user names, making it easier to report offenses and increasing permanent bans.

"There is no place for racist content in our game. This is an effort we began with launch and we need to do a better job. We're issuing thousands of daily bans of racist and hate-oriented names," the company tweeted on June 3.

"But we know we have to do more—and are"

Infinity Ward and publisher Activision have been contacted for comment.

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A television shows images from "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" as people play during a launch event for the highly anticipated video game at a GameStop Corp. store November 7, 2011 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty
'White Supremacist' OK Hand Gesture Removed From 'Call of Duty' Games | U.S.