‘No Nazis in Nashville!’ Protesters besiege hat store, brands cut ties with owner who brandished ‘not vaccinated’ yellow star
Crowds of protesters and journalists swarmed around the HatWRKS shop on 8th Ave S. in Nashville on Saturday, after its owner caused a stir online with a controversial Instagram post promoting a new item – designed around one of the most widely known symbols of the Holocaust.
Protest happening now outside of HatWRKS following controversial Instagram post that showed the shop’s owner wearing a yellow patch resembling the Star of David that read the words “not vaccinated”. @WKRN pic.twitter.com/vVhDqb6RvD— Nikki McGee (@NikkiMcGeeWKRN) May 29, 2021
Facing a wave of outrage, the store owner deleted the original post, but hit back at critics, wondering if they were similarly “outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing,” apparently referring to the government restrictions imposed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protestors surrounded a Nashville hat store on Saturday after the owner of hatWRKS posted a picture to Instagram showing her wearing a yellow patch resembling the Star of David with the words “not vaccinated”.https://t.co/6MZNDlF1GH— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) May 30, 2021
Her apparent lack of remorse led activists to double down on their calls for a boycott, which multiple brand names responded to.
“As a result of the offensive content and opinions shared by HatWRKS in Nashville, Stetson and our distribution partners will cease the sale of all Stetson products,” the US company, which was once the largest hat company in the world, said, adding that it “condemns antisemitism and discrimination of any kind.”
As a result of the offensive content and opinions shared by HatWRKS in Nashville, Stetson and our distribution partners will cease the sale of all Stetson products. We thank you for your continued support and patience.— John B. Stetson (@StetsonUSA) May 29, 2021
“Goorin Bros is horrified by the display and selling of the Jewish badge by HatWRKS, a store in Nashville Tennessee, that sells some of our hats,” another well-known brand said. “We are looking at all options to fix and address this unfortunate circumstance.”
Australian manufacturer Akubra Hats also rushed to distance itself from HatWRKS, saying the “content, opinions and value of this stockist are not ones shared by Akubra and as a result we have taken action to cease trading with them.”
Bailey Hats said the “use of the Star of David by our customer as a statement against vaccination was not just insensitive, but disrespectful and wrong. We encouraged our customer to issue a sincere apology for her mistake and have suspended her account in the meantime.”
The store owner, Gigi Gaskins, who made several attempts to rationalize her intentions, issued an apology on Saturday night, which, however, is unlikely to appease her critics.
“In no way did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people... I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity,” she said in an Instagram post.
My intent was not to exploit or make a profit. My hope was to share my genuine concern & fear, and to do all that I can to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.
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