Travel

Second family spots Universal Orlando staff in Despicable Me costume making ‘racist gesture’


A HISPANIC family are furious after they spotted a Universal Orlando actor making a hand gesture that’s frequently associated with white supremacists.

The Florida residents have now come forward to formally complain about the incident.

 A Hispanic family has come forward to complain after spotting "Gru" making a gesture associated with racists

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A Hispanic family has come forward to complain after spotting “Gru” making a gesture associated with racistsCredit: McLuskey, McDonald & Hughes, P.A.

The family, who have not been identified, visited the theme park on February 16 last year.

While there, their five-year-old girl had her photo taken with a park employee dressed as Felonious Gru, the arch-villain from Despicable Me.

What they didn’t realise at the time was that the actor was making the “OK” symbol in the photograph, a hand gesture that’s considered racist and is often associated with white supremacists.

The family only decided to look through their family snaps after hearing about a similar incident involving another family, named as the Zingers, in March last year.

 Another incident involving Gru also took place at the park last year

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Another incident involving Gru also took place at the park last yearCredit: McLuskey, McDonald & Hughes, P.A.

The Zingers, from Colorado, visited the park on March 23 last year with their two kids.

At the character breakfast they attended, the biracial children had their photos taken with an actor dressed as Gru, who was making the same hand gesture.

It was only months later that the Zingers spotted the “racist” symbol, prompting them to come forward.

Universal Orlando fired the actor in question, and a spokesperson said at the time: “We never want our guests to experience what this family did.

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“This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again.”

Universal Orlando fires Despicable Me actor after he was pictured ‘making white power symbol’ next to biracial girl, 6

With the two incidents having taken place weeks apart, it’s not clear whether it’s the same actor involved in both cases.

The lawyer representing both families, the Miami-based Lisa Riddle, told New York Daily News: “Universal has refused to give us any information as to the identity of the Gru character they allegedly dismissed despite our numerous requests for such.”

Lisa added: “Kids run up to these dressed characters with joyous abandon.

“To know that the people behind the costumes harbor hate towards certain children because of their race is heartbreaking.”

They have lodged formal complaints against the park with the Florida Commission on Human Relations this month, charging them with public accommodation discrimination – a violation of Florida state law.

Why is the OK symbol associated with the far right movement?

The symbol was originally associated with the word OK and later the circle game.

But according to the ADL, the “OK” hand gesture became a hate symbol in 2017.

A hoax on the website 4chan stated the three fingers symbolised a ‘w’ and the circle and the palm represented a ‘p’ – associating it with “white power”.

While a hoax, it then gained traction and has since been adopted by white supremacists.

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Guests at Universal Orlando have previously been pictured making the “Nazi salute” on a ride.

A theme park in France was forced to shut down a ride after guests complained that it was racist.

A German theme park had to shut down a new ride after people realised it looked like flying swastikas.

Sun Online Travel has contacted Universal Orlando for comment.





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