A racist actor wearing a Gru costume from the “Despicable Me” franchise has been fired by Universal Studios for making an upside-down “OK” sign in a photo with a biracial child.
The symbol is recognized by some as a reppin’ white power and racial hate. It was added to the Anti-Defamation League’s “Hate on Display” hate symbol database in September.
Tiffiney Zinger told USA Today that her family (husband Richard Zinger, and their two kids who are biracial) vacationed at the Orlando theme park back in March, but she didn’t notice the offensive symbol until they returned home to Colorado and were looking through the vacation photos, per PEOPLE.
In the photo, the children are seen next to two characters from the animated feature: a minion, and Gru. The Zingers’ daughter is posed next to Gru, whose right hand is on her shoulder forming the upside-down “OK” sign and in the other hand, a banana.
“It’s more than the ‘OK’ sign,” Richard told the outlet. “A lot of people don’t understand what that sign means.”
“We just wanted to take them to see the minions. Do something special for our family and this person ruined that special warm feeling,” Tiffiney told USA Today.
Tiffany says she’s been “emotionally distraught” since the incident and she’s “still pretty upset that someone felt they needed to do this to children.”
A spokesman for the resort has confirmed the actor in the photo “no longer works” at the park.
“We never want our guests to experience what this family did,” a Universal Orlando Resort spokesman told USA Today.
“This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again,” their statement continued. “We can’t discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here. We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right.”