Nashville Hat Store Issues Apology After Controversial 'Star of David' Post That Went Viral Spurred Uproar

Exterior view of HatWRKS in Nashville

"I could not believe this could be for real. I like to think such stupidity, insensitivity and ignorance in America cannot be commonplace. It’s real," Ana-Navarro-Cardenas wrote on her Twitter.

A Nashville hat store’s recent social media post that shows a picture of the store owner wearing a yellow patch resembling the Star of David with the words “Not Vaccinated” has gone viral and has prompted a national uproar as people describe the post as “ignorant,” “offensive,” and “hurtful.” 

On Saturday, protestors gathered outside HatWRKS, located on 8th Ave. South, holding signs reading, “No Nazis in Nashville!”  “Sell Hats Not Hate," and calling out the owner for her insensitive and offensive actions to the Jewish community and victims and survivors of the Holocaust, WSMV-News4 Nashville reported. 

Political correspondent Ana-Navarro-Cardenas expressed her reaction on Twitter: "I could not believe this could be for real. I like to think such stupidity, insensitivity and ignorance in America cannot be commonplace. It’s real," The Washington Post reported.

Later that day, HatWRKS' owner, Gigi Gaskins, removed the Instagram post that featured the yellow star patches that many claim looked similar to the badges the Jews were forced to wear by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, that she was selling for $5 apiece,” the Post reported. 

“in NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. That is not who I am & what I stand for. 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 make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity,” the company said in statement on Instagram.   Despite the apology, Hatmakers Stetson, Goorin Bros. and Bailey Hats have cut ties with the hat store. 

Stetson sent out a tweet on Saturday stating that the company “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,” the post said. 

The controversy came about after recent inflammatory remarks Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene made during a podcast, in which she compared the Democrats' requirement that masks to be worn on the House floor to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, the Post reported.

Roger Abramson, an attorney, told WSMV that “it's willful ignorance.” 

“The information is out there. People are willfully ignoring facts, information and history because it doesn’t fit what they want to believe or it doesn’t fit some narrative they have,” Abramson said.

Since November, more than a dozen posts sent out by HatWRKS were marked by Instagram as false, with many allegedly expressing malice and misinformation on vaccinations and mask-wearing as government suppression by its citizens, according to the Post.

Daniel Torday expressed his anguish over the post, the Post reported.

"I can’t believe I have to do this again, but bear w me,” Torday said showing a framed photo of a yellow Star of David his great-grandmother was forced to wear in Budapest when he said, “she was taken from her home and murdered at Auschwitz with most of our family.”

"It is not a fungible political symbol. It is not a symbol at all,” he said. 

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