Universal Orlando Fires Gru Actor for Flashing White-Power Symbol in Photo With Biracial Girl

Actor dressed as “Despicable Me” character formed upside down “OK” gesture

Universal Orlando has fired an actor dressed as the “Despicable Me” character Gru and flashed a white power symbol while posing for a photo with a 6-year-old biracial girl with autism and a 2-year-old boy, a representative from Universal Orlando told TheWrap.

The girl’s parents Tiffiney and Richard Zinger told USA Today that they noticed in one of their family photos that the actor was discreetly making the upside down “OK” gesture, which has been recognized as a hate symbol commonly used by white supremacists, while resting his hand on the girl’s shoulder. Video given to USA Today by the family further showed that the actor rested his hand on the girl’s shoulder as normal, and then made the gesture as the photo was being taken.

“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,” Tom Schroeder, a spokesperson for Universal Studios in Orlando said in a statement. “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.”

The incident occurred back on March 23 during a character breakfast at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Fla., a Universal hotel. Zinger told USA Today that she noticed the symbol after going through family photos in mid-August and reached out to Universal Orlando, who informed them the incident would be investigated.

Following up after a month of silence from Universal, Zinger said according to emails provided to USA Today that the status of the investigation was deemed “proprietary information” and the family were offered a gift card and free tickets to the theme park. Universal Orlando has since confirmed to USA Today that the actor has been fired.

“I’ve been emotionally distraught about it. I’m still pretty upset that someone felt they needed to do this to children,” Tiffiney Zinger told USA Today. “It can cause emotional stress on my child and her development.”

Check out the video from USA Today of the incident above.