Back in 2019 there were a pair of incidents that took place at Universal Studios Orlando that were apparently taken the wrong way by guests. Two families who had taken photos with a costumed Gru (from Illumination’s Despicable Me franchise) had filed lawsuits against the entertainment giant due to the actors in the suits doing the “okay sign’ in their photos.
The reason for this is due to the internet meme that said the sign means “white power”. The families took it as a racist offense and filed an official complaint followed by legal action.
The “white power” meme started on the website 4chan and was named by the ADL (Anti Defamation League) as a racist symbol against minorities.
However, the actors’ explanation was that they were playing the old “Circle Game” where if you get tricked into looking at the sign you get punched in the arm. Both actors (Austin Walker and Joseph Saenz) and Universal themselves stated that the signal they gave was NOT a reference to the “white power” meme.
The lawsuit was originally filed in late 2019 with each family seeking roughly $30,000 each, but has since increased to somewhere between $75,000 – $150,000. But it appears that Universal has now settled with both families out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Both families were represented by attorney Lisa Riddle. She stated in an interview regarding the case:
“Clearly, these two guys either didn’t get trained on it, or they ignored it. Or their handlers didn’t get trained on it or ignored it.“
Since the incident both actors have apparently been fired. A spokesperson for Universal, Tom Schroder, made the following statement in October of 2019:
“We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable and we are sorry, and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again.“
How do you feel about this? Were these families justified in their actions?
Comment and let us know!
Source: Daily Mail UK
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