This might seem like a wild overreaction, but we’re on the side of Infinity Ward on this one. White supremacists have co-opted the “okay” gesture to mean something that it was never intended, just as how the Nazis co-opted the swastika, a Buddhist symbol for peace and harmony.
Neither Infinity Ward nor Activision has commented on the OK gesture’s removal. It was added in an earlier Modern Warfare update but was removed about a week ago without warning. As Eurogamer notes, it had been used within the Call of Duty community as a sort of “trickshot” where one flashes the OK gesture in the left hand while still shooting in the right hand.
However, that’s no longer an option. The gesture has been removed likely due to its new-found ties to white supremacy.
The Anti Defamation League says that we have 4chan to blame for the OK sign no longer meaning OK. In 2017, a 4chan hoax began circulating that said the OK symbol was a sign of white supremacy for the hand making the letters “WP,” which stood for “white power.” At the time this wasn’t true, but since then, actual white supremacists have started using the symbol to covertly show their allegiance.
Brenton Tarrant, the white supremacist terrorist that massacred 50 Muslims in Christchurch New Zealand, flashed the OK sign during his court appearance in March of 2019. The New York Times did an expose that found multiple other horrible people also using the OK sign in the same way, such as Milo Yiannopolous, the former Breitbart editor, and Richard B. Spencer, the promoter of the deadly Charlottesville white power rally.
Infinity Ward certainly seems to be on the side of Black Lives Matter protesters, given the recent updates that posted a message at the beginning of every Warzone match. This is just the latest indication that the company wants to be on the right side of history.