Tiffiney Zinger said it was painful telling her daughter she couldn’t use a family vacation photo for her second grade class project – the image was marred by what appeared to be a symbol of hate.
The photo shows the 6-year-old girl, who is biracial and has autism, posing with an actor dressed as the movie character Gru from “Despicable Me” during a Universal Orlando breakfast event attended by the Zinger family in March. The character formed an upside-down “OK” symbol with his fingers, recognized by some as a hate symbol, on the girl’s shoulder, according to a photo and video reviewed by USA TODAY.
A Universal Orlando Resort spokesman said Tuesday in response to USA TODAY inquiries about the episode that the actor had been fired. The spokesman, Tom Schroder, initially declined to further comment but then issued a statement:
“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. 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.”