Kanye West posted a photo of himself in a "Make America Great Again" hat on Wednesday, but now one of the other men in that picture is speaking out, saying that he wasn't making an alt-right hand gesture, as some are claiming.
West's photo was at the center of a Twitter tantrum that set social media ablaze. He wore one of the president's signature hats while tweeting his ongoing support for the administration. If that weren't enough, some interpreted the hand sign another man was making to be a subtle alt-right calling card.
we got love pic.twitter.com/Edk0WGscp6— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
He begs to differ. That man is Lyor Cohen, YouTube's Global Head of Music, and he told TMZ that he was simply making the "OK" sign. Furthermore, a YouTube representative pointed out that Cohen often makes that hand sign in pictures, as he was trying to turn it into the calling card of his company, 300 Entertainment.
That might not be possible anymore, however. The hand sign has slowly emerged as an alt-right inside joke in the last several years. It's been used by prominent alt-right figure heads including Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Ma, Jim Hoft and Lucian Wintrich, according to a report by The Outline.
Many believe that the alt-right adopted the symbol in 2015, during President Trump's election. The president often holds his hands in this position, and gestures that way as he speaks. Slowly, his most fervent supporters began to emulate it, and use it as a way to identify one another. It crept into their online culture -- appearing in Pepe the Frog memes and other obscure references.
Still, Kanye West fans can breathe easier knowing that, despite his pro-Trump outbursts online, he hasn't identified with the alt-right movement just yet.
Fans were distraught over the "Make America Great Again" hat selfie, flooding his tweet with replies saying "delete this." West didn't seem bothered by their response. Just a few minutes later, he posted a close up shot of the hat, which sports President Donald Trump's signature across the brim.
"My MAGA hat is signed," West wrote along with a string of fire emojis.
my MAGA hat is signed ?????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/DrDHJybS8V— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
West first voiced his support for President Trump in 2015, though many of his fans have tried to ignore it.
As the Trump campaign gained traction, West announced his intention to run for president himself in 2020, though she soon changed the plan to 2024, implying his hope that President Trump will serve two terms.1comments
West even met with Trump in Trump Tower on Dec. 13, 2016, according to a report by USA Today. He and the then-president-elect discussed "bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculum, and violence in Chicago," West's hometown.
West later deleted all of his pro-Trump tweets in February of 2017, admitting that he hadn't actually voted, though he would have cast his ballot for Trump if he had. Sources close to West told TMZ at the time that he was not pleased with the president's travel ban on Muslim people, among other executive actions.