Universal Orlando sued for costumed character making racist gestures

Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2021 9:41 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Two families are suing Universal Orlando after separate incidents during which an actor playing the “Despicable Me” movie character Gru made a racist hand gesture while posing for photos and video with biracial children.

Read more from WKMG/Orlando.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 9:43 AM
Jeff's avatar

I wonder why Universal won't just give up the fired employee, and be like, sue that guy. If it was an employee not in a costume, you'd obviously be able to identify them. I'm sure there's some legal reason they would prefer to take the suit over the throwing the ex-worker under the bus, I just can't imagine what that is.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:02 AM

I am not sure how to deal with this. A group commandeers a very ordinary, commonly used gesture that simply means OK, and that makes it bad for everyone to use. What is to keep a group from taking over the thumbs up symbol or the #1 symbol? Can you imagine every sports figure making a racist gesture every time they do something good? It seems like it won't be long until every hand gesture could be viewed as bad.

Can someone sue me if I innocently give them the OK sign? And in this particular case, it seems like the family would have to somehow prove intent and I do not know how they do that, unless they somehow see that the only time this character used the OK sign was on non-white people.

Not trying to be jerk, I just don't know how to understand this.

+1Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:07 AM

The thumbs-up gesture *is* problematic in some parts of the world:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cross-cultural-gestures_b_3437653


I develop Retro Games for macOS, iPhone, and iPad when not riding coasters.

+1Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:29 AM
janfrederick's avatar

Perhaps because the employee could then turn around and sue Universal for not providing adequate training. The OK symbol as hate isn't common knowledge.


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:39 AM
Jeff's avatar

Come on... he obviously knew what he was doing. There are countless family photos of the same thing. He couldn't argue that.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:03 AM
Vater's avatar

Ugh.

1. This is the very first I've heard of the "OK" hand gesture considered a symbol of racism.*
2. This guy was obviously using it as such.
3. Suing for $30,000 for emotional damages is ludicrous.
4. Universal should release the guy's name and absolve themselves of this.

A coworker of mine told me yesterday that he engaged in an online pissing match and was told, "the world would be a better place if people would stop offending others." That's absolutely impossible. Some of my opinions will offend others, there's no way around that...UNLESS...people would stop letting themselves be offended. I spend nearly every day of my life not getting offended at stuff I read and hear that could easily offend me.

Sticks and f*****g stones...

*Life has been a lot simpler and much more enjoyable with the very limited amount of news I ingest. However, I suppose the fact that I was unaware could have landed me in litigation had I dared use the OK gesture to, you know, symbolize that I'm OK.

Last edited by Vater, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:06 AM
+2Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:22 AM

Number one rule of litigation: sue solvent parties. If Universal names the employee I would expect him/her to be joined to the lawsuit so it would be against both Universal and the employee.

+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:25 AM

Jeff said:

Come on... he obviously knew what he was doing. There are countless family photos of the same thing. He couldn't argue that.

Does he do the same thing for white kids? Maybe that is just what he does. Not defending him, just wondering how you prove it was just non-white kids.

+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:27 AM
Jeff's avatar

Vater said:

UNLESS...people would stop letting themselves be offended. I spend nearly every day of my life not getting offended at stuff I read and hear that could easily offend me.

You're not wrong, but there's a pretty wide spectrum of offense, and it's not all the same. If people who looked like you had been treated as inferior and unequal for all of recorded American history, you know, there's a point where it's hardly as simple as not allowing yourself to be offended. The offense has real consequences.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+2Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:53 AM

It is possible he had no idea that the symbol could be viewed as a hate symbol.

maybe this gesture is just his thing?

I have no idea how you prove he was doing it out of hate? Maybe if he has a history of doing it around people of color?

Last edited by The_Orient_of_Express, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 11:54 AM
+1Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 12:48 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

At least he didn’t call anyone a whore.


+7Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 1:29 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

One thing to remember is that it’s an upside down OK, which is different than actually signaling OK to someone.


+1Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 1:39 PM

If people who looked like you had been treated as inferior and unequal for all of recorded American history, you know, there's a point where it's hardly as simple as not allowing yourself to be offended. The offense has real consequences.

Same concept apply to people's ability to find fee-free banking?

+3Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 1:41 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/okay-hand-gesture

So yeah, this article says everything I'd like to say, but am too lazy to get into.

It started as a 4chan joke. It has always meant ok. Especially among kids is simply the circle game - which would be epic if you were flashing it in souvenir photos as a costumed character.

With that said, obviously, use common sense. People wanna be outraged and we've apparently decided this is enough to do it.

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/26/764728163/the-ok-hand-gesture-is-now...ol-of-hate

That article is from September 2019.

So somewhere between 4chan trying to dick with people in February 2017 and September 2019, things progressed enough to say, "This isn't a prank anymore."

The photos in question at Universal were taken in February & March of 2019 according to the article linked above.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to create some arbitrary hand symbols and assign them new, terrible meanings...or even better just co-opt widely used, existing ones.


+2Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:11 PM
Vater's avatar

Vater said:

2. This guy was obviously using it as such.

Good lord, I completely forgot about the circle game. I retract the above statement.

+2Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:13 PM

As noted above, I already have rights to the thumbs up and #1.

+1Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:19 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

It’s not like there’s not already a precedent for coopting symbols for hate or anything


+0
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

GoBucks89 said:

If people who looked like you had been treated as inferior and unequal for all of recorded American history, you know, there's a point where it's hardly as simple as not allowing yourself to be offended. The offense has real consequences.

Same concept apply to people's ability to find fee-free banking?

Absolutely. The more I learn about that topic, yes, that area has a pretty long history of institutional racism as well. I totally forgot about payday loans, for example.

Two things feel icky about this topic. The first is the willingness of people to completely ignore intent. It isn't just two families coming forward here. It's not a coincidence. The second is that, I would hope after the last year, a bunch of white dudes on the Internet would not be dismissive toward the issue as if it were just simple butthurt. Don't get all defensive, I'm not suggesting anyone here is being racist, I'm asking for a little empathy.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+5Loading
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:40 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

From now on, when I put my middle finger up at you, it means that I affirm everything you are doing.

In all seriousness, there is a definite increase in dog-whistley, wink-wink, I said it but I didn’t really say it kind of racism. (Two guesses where it’s coming from and only thebl first one counts.) It’s intentionally used so that racists can speak out of both sides of their mouths and be obviously and overtly racist and then say “you’re taking me out of context and looking for reasons to be offended.” Thankfully, I haven’t been subject to hate violence, but there’s a pretty easy line to draw between stuff like this and violence against AAPI’s.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

+6Loading

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2021, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...