Former Entertainment Tonight presenter Mary Hart is getting backlash after some thought she flashed a ‘white power’ sign at President Trump’s Fourth of July event on Mount Rushmore.
Hart, 69, a former Miss South Dakota winner, appeared in her home state on Friday to host the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration when Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One.
But Hart’s speculative use of a white-force hand gesture left some audience members shocked and outraged by social media users.
“Thank you, incredible audience. You’ve been here for hours! Hart said, putting her thumbs and index fingers together as she extended her remaining three fingers.
Several people speculate that former Entertainment Tonight presenter Mary Hart (pictured) used a ‘white power’ hand gesture while celebrating President Trump’s July 4 celebration.
The hand symbol, which was once harmless and typically means ‘OK’, was initially associated with ‘white power’ as an online joke, but has since been adopted by racist figures.
“By 2019, at least some white supremacists seem to have given up the ironic or satirical intent behind the original trolling campaign and use the symbol as a heartfelt expression of white supremacy,” said The Anti-Defamation League.
A similar gesture is used in the so-called ‘circle game’, in which the person making the gesture tries to deceive someone into looking at it, and if the spectator succeeds in beating his arm.
However, the ambiguous nature of the gesture is part of the appeal to extremists.
How the ‘OK’ sign was associated with white supremacy
The historic OK hand sign – touching the index finger with the thumb with the other three fingers up – is a previously harmless symbol recently co-opted by the far right.
Racists’ co-option of the symbol started as a joke on the far-right messaging site 4Chan – where users made an innocent gesture and pretended there was some hidden meaning behind it, hoping to trick left-leaning people into anger.
But the joke escalated, and soon the symbol was widely used by far-right extremists, leading some to conclude that it has changed its meaning.
The ‘OK’ hand gesture (left) is now sometimes associated with white supremacy, despite its usually innocent meaning. Brenton Tarrant, Australian man arrested earlier this year for killing 51 people in New Zealand mosques, makes gesture in court in March
Conservative Viner Pizza Party Ben and former alt-right pin-up boy Milo Yiannopoulos started making the gesture at several campaign events for Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 election.
White supremacist Richard Spencer also flashed the sign on election night in 2016 for a Trump Hotel with the caption ‘Tonight is the night’.
The symbol is still used, including allegedly by White House intern Jack Breuer in 2017, photographed making the OK sign in his class photo, claiming he was copying the president’s gesture to put his index finger and thumb while speaking.
The popular emoji has been registered as a hate symbol by the US-based Anti-Defamation League, but the group warned that it is still used ‘overwhelmingly’ to show approval or that someone is okay.
Others use it as part of a ‘circle game’ made on the American TV show Malcolm in the Middle, where someone makes the gesture and holds it below their waist. When someone else looks at it, they get a slap in the arm.
America has seen increasing calls to stamp out the supremacy and injustice of the breeds as dozens of Black Lives Matter protests have covered the country for several weeks.
The movement has gained huge attention on social media, where several people used the platform to call out Hart for the alleged hand gesture.
“I’d like to say that MaryHart has now been canceled for hosting the Trumps corona-spreading hate rally, while giving the double ‘white power’ symbol,” wrote TV Personality Scott Nevins.
But really, she hasn’t worked for 10 years and you have to be relevant to be canceled. #girlbye. ‘
Several social media users called on Mary Hart for the alleged hand gesture on Twitter after hosting the Mount Rushmore event
Willie Garson: ‘The double WHITE POWER mark was no mistake or coincidence. She EXACTLY knew what she was doing ‘
Actress Jane Lynch simply shared a photo of Mary Hart making a hand gesture to highlight the supposed meaning
Actor Willie Garson shared similar sentiments, urging Twitter users to “ Make sure Mary Hart knows we know what she did last night.
The double WHITE POWER mark was no mistake or coincidence. She EXACTLY knew what she was doing, ”he added.
Jane Lynch, a four-time Emmy Award-winning actress, simply shared a photo of Hart making the hand gesture.
Journalist James Kosure wrote, “Mary Hart randomly and intentionally threw two white power symbols while introducing Donald Trump.”
Kosur: ‘Mary Hart randomly and intentionally threw over two white power symbols while introducing Donald Trump’
The controversial hand gesture was adopted in white supremacist circles after being used as a hoax online
Twitter user Rob Gill suggested that Hart scold himself as a Nazi by flashing the white power sign.
Scores from other social media users were surprised to learn that Hart seemed conservative, but the White House connection is familial.
Politico reports that Hart’s son, Alec “AJ” Sugarman, was assigned a special assistant role to the President of White House legislative affairs last May.
Previously, he was a legislative analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.
Pictured: Mary Hart (right, red dress), pictured with her son AJ Sugarman (right), who appeared on her last Entertainment Tonight hosting in 2011
Last night, Trump delivered a fiery speech claiming that the “left-wing cultural revolution” was intended to topple the American revolution into a repeated trail against the Black Lives Matter movement.
On the eve of the July 4 holiday, Trump’s message was about us versus them, calling those who didn’t support him “ bad, bad people. ”
He threw red meat at a full crowd of supporters – most of whom did not wear masks or social distances to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – telling them ‘we will never abolish the police’ and ‘we are standing upright , we stand proud and we only kneel before Almighty God. ‘
President Trump (pictured) delivered a fiery speech to around 7,500 attendees who scolded the Black Lives Matter movement and pledged a “ national garden of American heroes ”
Pictured: Activists and members of various tribes from the region block the road to Mount Rushmore National Monument with vans protesting and confronting soldiers with a Lakota flag in Keystone, South Dakota
And announced that he was creating a new monument called the “ National Garden of American Heroes, ” which he described as a “ huge open-air park with the statues of the greatest Americans who have ever lived. ”
Trump also vowed to deploy federal law enforcement “to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the farthest extent of the law.”
He promised Mount Rushmore, which loomed above him – and would serve as a backdrop for fireworks after his speech – would never be touched.
It turned out to be a reference to a number of Southern monuments and statues demolished by protesters against racism.
The divisive rhetoric comes after the deaths of several black Americans from law enforcement officers, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain, Atatiana Jefferson and more.
Pictured: Donald Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, stands on Mount Rushmore National Memorial during the National Anthem