'15 Minutes of Shame' documentary subject Emmanuel Cafferty says he was canceled after fidgeting with his fingers got misinterpreted as him throwing up the "white power" hand gesture ... and he says his life's been derailed ever since.
Cafferty joined "TMZ Live" Tuesday ... 16 months after he was unceremoniously axed from his dream job at the San Diego Gas & Electric company, mere hours after someone took a picture of him while his arm was hanging out the window of his company truck.
The picture, Cafferty says, caught him cracking his knuckles one by one and fidgeting with them -- but the person who took the picture posted it, accusing Cafferty of making the "OK" sign that's been adopted by white supremacists.
The picture was also taken less than 2 miles from a Black Lives Matter protest, and just days after George Floydwas killed.
Cafferty, who is Mexican-American, says he was swiftly suspended without pay before ultimately getting fired. He says he's furious this all happened even after the person who originally posted the photo deleted his account along with the picture, and later admitted he might have misinterpreted the gesture.
The ordeal Cafferty, and many other people, have gone through is the subject of the new HBO Max documentary produced by Monica Lewinsky. It's an in-depth look at what she calls the public shaming epidemic ... aka cancel culture.
As for Cafferty, he's left to swallow a very tough pill -- going from essential employee during a pandemic to a total social outcast, simply because he was fidgeting with his fingers.