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“OK” Hand Sign, “Bowlcut,” and More Added to ADL Hate Symbol List

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  • The ADL added 36 new hate symbols to its “Hate on Display” database, including the “OK” hand symbol and “bowlcut” hairstyle which was worn by the shooter in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. 
  • Many are upset that these seemingly common displays are being classified as hate. 
  • The ADL, however, does note in their list that the symbols must be evaluated in their context because “symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist.”

ADL Adds to “Hate on Display” Database

The Anti-Defamation League has added 36 new entries to its hate symbols list, including the “OK” hand gesture and “bowlcut” hairstyle. 

The organization, which is devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and other forms of discrimination, said it updated its “Hate on Display” database in a press release on Thursday. The list was created in 2000 to help law enforcement and the public identify potential warnings of extremism. 

Some of their latest additions include logos for hate groups, the practice of burning neo-Nazi symbols, and the Happy Merchant meme, which the group describes as “the most popular anti-Semitic meme among white supremacists.”

However, the “OK” hand gesture and “bowlcut” are the two that have made the most headlines. According to the ADL the use of “OK” as a hate symbol began “as a hoax by members of the website 4chan.”

Online trolls would say that the shape your hands make when signaling “OK” creates a W and a P, symbolizing white power. 

“The OK symbol became a popular trolling tactic,” they added. “By 2019, the symbol was being used in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy.”

The suspect who carried out the Christchurch, New Zealand shooting in March, which left 51 people dead, used the sign in a courtroom appearance, the organization’s entry explains. This is one of the most prominant examples of the symbol moving from being a troll tactic to being used in real-world white supremacy. 

Meanwhile, the “bowlcut” refers to the haircut worn by a shooter in Charleston, South Carolina, who killed eight people in a church in 2015.

Those who use the bowlcut image or other ‘bowl’ references admire [him] and call for others to emulate his 2015 mass shooting attack at Emanuel AME Church,” their passage explains. 

What These Classifications Mean

Both the “OK” sign and “bowlcut” are displayed in everyday fashions outside of hate groups. Below their list, the ADL acknowledges that some of their symbols exist outside the realm of hate and must be evaluated in their proper context.

“All the symbols depicted here must be evaluated in the context in which they appear,” they write. “Few symbols represent just one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the Confederate Flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. Similarly, other symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist.” 

As for how they decided on what to add, the ADL said that the newly added symbols were identified by their Center on Extremism. These symbols have been found on sites like 4chan, 8chan, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and gaming platforms. They also have a presence outside of the web.

“Such symbols have appeared at white supremacist events such as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and were painted on the guns used by [the suspected Christchurch shooter],” the ADL explains. 

ADL CEO John Greenblatt said that adding these new symbols allow the world to be fully informed on the potential presence of hate.

“Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,” he said in a statement. “We believe law enforcement and the public needs to be fully informed about the meaning of these images, which can serve as a first warning sign to the presence of haters in a community or school.”

Reactions Online

The ADL’s new listings created mixed reactions online. Many were shocked that something as common as the “OK” gesture was being classified as a hate symbol. Others took the warning to heart. Cartoonist Terry Moore said this was something artists needed to know about so they don’t “naively put these symbols” in art and send the wrong message.

https://twitter.com/TerryMooreArt/status/1177224738810318850?s=20

Meanwhile, some mocked the situation. Writer for The Blaze, Samantha Sullivan, said bowlcuts are a “terrible look, but damn.”

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murderers or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

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Inmates Sue Jail for Giving Them Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19 Without Consent

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Four detainees who filed the suit allege that the jail’s doctor gave them “incredibly high doses” of the anti-parasite in a “cocktail of drugs” that he said were “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”


Washington County Detention Center Lawsuit

Four inmates at an Arkansas jail have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that they were unknowingly given the anti-parasite drug ivermectin without their consent by the detention center’s doctor after contracting COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and countless other medical experts have said that ivermectin — commonly used for livestock — can be dangerous and should not be used to treat the coronavirus.

According to the lawsuit, after testing positive for COVID in August, the four men at the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) were given a “cocktail of drugs” twice a day by the facility’s doctor, Robert Karas.

The inmates claim that Dr. Karas did not tell them that he was giving them ivermectin, but instead said the drugs consisted of “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”

The complaint also alleges that the detainees were given “incredibly high doses” of the drug, causing some to experience “vision issues, diarrhea, bloody stools, and/or stomach cramps.”

Use on Other Inmates

The four plaintiffs were far from the only people to whom Karas gave ivermectin.

According to the lawsuit, the doctor began using the drug to treat COVID starting in November of 2020. In August, the Washington County sheriff confirmed at a local finance and budget committee meeting that the doctor had been prescribing the drug to inmates, prompting the Arkansas Medical Board to launch an investigation.

In response, Karas informed a Medical Board investigator in a letter from his attorney that 254 inmates at the facility had been treated with ivermectin.

In the letter, he confirmed that whether or not detainees were given information about ivermectin was dependent on who administered it, but paramedics were not required to discuss the drug with them.

He also admitted that after the practice got media coverage, he “adopted a more robust informed consent form to assuage any concern that any detainees were being misled or coerced into taking the medications, even though they weren’t.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which filed the suit on behalf of the inmates, also claimed in a statement that after questions were raised about the practice, the jail attempted to make detainees sign forms saying that they retroactively agreed to the treatments. 

The WCDC has not issued a public response to the lawsuits, but Dr. Karas appeared to address the situation in a Facebook post where he defended his actions.

“Guess we made the news again this week; still with best record in the world at the jail with the same protocols,” he wrote. “Inmates aren’t dumb and I suspect in the future other inmates around the country will be suiing their facilities requesting same treatment we’re using at WCDC-including the Ivermectin.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CBS News) (NBC News)

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Medical Workers Sign Letter Urging Spotify to Combat Misinformation, Citing Joe Rogan

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The letter accused Spotify of “enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research.”


Doctors and Medical Professionals Sign Letter to Spotify

A group of 270 doctors, scientists, and other medical workers signed an open letter to Spotify this week urging the audio platform to implement a misinformation policy, specifically citing false claims made on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. 

Rogan has faced no shortage of backlash over the last year for promoting vaccine misinformation on his show, which airs exclusively on Spotify. Most recently, he invited Dr. Robert Malone on a Dec. 31 episode that has since been widely criticized by health experts. 

Dr. Malone was banned from Twitter for promoting COVID-19 misinformation. According to the medical experts who signed the letter, he “used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public.”

“Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust,” the letter continued. “These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.”

Joe Rogan’s History of COVID-19 Misinformation

Rogan sparked swift criticism himself in the spring of 2021 when he discouraged young people from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. He also falsely equated mRNA vaccines to “gene therapy” and incorrectly stated that vaccines cause super mutations of the virus. He took ivermectin after testing positive for the virus in September, despite the fact that the drug is not approved as a treatment for COVID.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the doctors and medical workers wrote. 

“We are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform,” they continued. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

Rolling Stone was the first outlet to report on the letter from the medical professionals. Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago, was among the signees. She told the magazine that Rogan is “a menace to public health.”

“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue,” she said. “And there are really not.”

Spotify had not responded to the letter as of Thursday.

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Deadline) (Insider)

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Data Shows Omicron May be Peaking in the U.S.

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In some cities that were first hit by the surge, new cases are starting to flatten and decline.


New Cases Flattening

After weeks of recording-breaking cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, public health officials say that new COVID infections seem to be slowing in the parts of the country that were hit the hardest earlier on.

Following a more than twentyfold rise in December, cases in New York City have flattened out in recent days. 

New infections have even begun to fall slightly in some states, like Maryland and New Jersey. In Boston, the levels of COVID in wastewater — which has been a top indicator of case trends in the past — have dropped by nearly 40% since the first of the year.

Overall, federal data has shown a steep decline in COVID-related emergency room visits in the Northeast, and the rest of the country appears to be following a similar track.

Data from other countries signals the potential for a steep decline in cases following the swift and unprecedented surge.

According to figures from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, cases rose at an incredibly shocking rate for about a month but peaked quickly in mid-December. Since then, new infections have plummeted by around 70%.

In the U.K., which has typically been a map for how U.S. cases will trend, infections are also beginning to fall after peaking around New Year’s and then flattening for about a week.

Concerns Remain 

Despite these recent trends, experts say it is still too early to say if cases in the U.S. will decline as rapidly as they did in South Africa and the parts of the U.K. that were first hit. 

While new infections may seem to be peaking in the cities that saw the first surges, caseloads continue to climb in most parts of the country. 

Meanwhile, hospitals are overwhelmed and health resources are still strained because of the high volume of cases hitting all at once.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (The Wall Street Journal)

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