Leader of the French far right National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, was unaware of the meaning of an ''OK'' hand signal she made in a "selfie" photo taken with Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) member Ruuben Kaalep, and asked the latter to remove the photo from his social media page, she said on Wednesday.
Le Pen was in Tallinn on Tuesday, meeting with EKRE members as well as politicians from other European national conservative/far right parties, who hope to set up a new European parliamentary group.
The "OK" signal which both Kaalep and Le Pen were making in the photo, has come to be intepreted as a far right, white supremacist or neo Nazi "dog whistle," according to French sources France Info, BFMTV and AFP (links in French).
Members of EKRE had recently made the same gesture when taking the Riigikogu oath, after their party entered into office as part of a coalition with the Centre Party and Isamaa, as well as on other occasions.
"I was in a selfie at his request, making a signal that to me means 'ok'," Le Pen told AFP.
"I was later told that it may have an alternative meaning. As soon as I became aware of that, I immediately asked that the photo be removed from the Facebook account," she continued.
"I'd never heard of the second meaning of this trivial gesture," she added.
The photo remains absent from Kaalep's Facebook page at the time of writing, though other pictures where he is making the same gesture are present.
Editor: Andrew Whyte