The American Coast Guard has fired a team member from his duty after he was accused of having put a "white power" sign in the air.
The unknown employee had been looking at the camera during a MSNBC interview on Friday evening, before he briefly made the hand gesture.
He was sitting behind a desk in the background while the cable channel spoke with Captain Commander Capt Capt. John Reed in Charleston, South Carolina.
The agency responded quickly to the resulting backlash of social media.
- Disaster in Carolina as the storms rise
The incident happened when MSNBC approached the emergency aid for the deadly tropical storm Florence, which is imbued with the Carolinas.
"Whatever that symbol means, it does not reflect the coastguard and our core values," Coast Guard Lt JB Zorn told NBC News.
"It will not be tolerated."
The Coast Guard tweeted that he was aware of the & # 39; offensive video & # 39; and did research on the case.
In a statement, the agency said it was a "frustrating distraction".
A number of commentators on Twitter did not doubt the nature of the momentary gesture.
One user, @ jgobble, tweeted: "Have you all seen this person flash White Power on TV? OUR OWN COAST GUARD !!! This has to be investigated and this man has to be removed / removed / discharged!"
Another, @OKCopyThat, posted: "That was obvious! Lord, have mercy on us, these bad people are among us."
Yet another, @ TomAmestoy, tweette: "The Coast Guard is filled with heroes and apparently at least one racist who is ashamed of an honorable crew."
But not everyone was convinced.
A Twitter user, @Dpatcorb, said: "Bahahahahaha, you seriously have the mental capacity of a 2-year-old if you think that is a white power signal."
It is not clear how the hand gesture of the thumb and forefinger & # 39; OK & # 39; was associated with "white power."
It apparently started as an online hoax before it was adopted by far-right sympathizers and even some of Trump's supporters to goad liberals.
Earlier this month, left-wing activists accused a former Trump government official of making the symbol during an interrogation in the Senate.
Zina Bash was seen in the background during a confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court candidate, Brett Kavanaugh.
Mrs. Bash, of Jewish-Mexican origin, was branded as a "neo-Nazi" or "white supremacist".
Her husband, Texas prosecutor John Bash, is angry at his wife being the grandchild of survivors of the Holocaust.
"Anyone who tweeted this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed," he said.
"We were not even familiar with the hateful symbol that was attributed to her for the arbitrary way she held her hand during a long hearing."