RT, June 17, 2020
A Mexican-American man who was fired after being accused of flashing a “white power gesture” says he was merely cracking his knuckles, prompting demands that he be given his job back and a retraction from his accuser.
Emmanuel Cafferty was recently terminated from his position at a San Diego utility company after an encounter with a stranger some two weeks ago. Stopped at an intersection, the stranger snapped a photo showing Cafferty in his truck with an arm hanging out of the window. The picture was promptly shared to Twitter, where it was alleged the man had flashed a symbol some associate with white supremacy – known to everyone else as the ‘OK’ sign.
Though Cafferty appears to be making an entirely different gesture in the grainy photo, the image soon made its way back to his employer at San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). The company fired him after a few days of deliberation, claiming it “took appropriate action.”
The employee, who is Hispanic, insists he was simply cracking his knuckles when the photo was taken, saying the company’s decision to fire him was “baffling” and that he was unaware of the supposedly racist hand signal.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get over this, but to lose your dream job for playing with your fingers, that’s a hard pill to swallow,” Cafferty told a local NBC affiliate.
Contacted by local reporters, the man who captured the image – who has not been identified – admits he may have gotten “spun up” with emotion and misjudged the incident, adding that he never intended for Cafferty to be fired. He has since deleted his Twitter account altogether.
The matter didn’t die there, however, with outraged netizens catching wind of the story and demanding that SDG&E give Cafferty his job back, arguing he was the victim of an overzealous “woke lunatic” and a “Twitter mob.”
“I hope you didn’t fire Emmanuel Cafferty for that photo alone,” one user said, addressing the company. “This Mexican American lost his job for cracking his knuckles? You must have corroborating evidence, right?”
Cafferty’s case is not the first time the dreaded ‘OK’ gesture has generated controversy. A group of army and navy trainees landed in hot water last December after making the signal on camera at a football match, also driving allegations that the cadets had brandished a “hate symbol.” An internal probe later cleared them of wrongdoing, finding no links whatsoever to white supremacy.