Stetson, others sever ties with Nashville hat store offering ‘not vaccinated’ Star of David badges

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A number of notable hat makers have cut ties with the Nashville hat store, “hatWRKS,” that tried last Friday to sell “Not Vaccinated” patches shaped like the Star of David.

The Star of David is an ancient Jewish symbol that was exploited by the German Nazis during the Holocaust. By forcing Jews to wear the symbol, the Nazis were easily able to identify them. Because of its history and deep meaning, many, many, many people, some of them conservative, took offense to the shop appropriating it.

In fact, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the shop less than 24 hours after its owner posted an Instagram post of herself wearing the “Not Vaccinated” patch.

“Organizers surrounded the store on Saturday morning around 10 a.m. and held up signs. One sign read ‘No Nazis in Nashville!'” local station WKRN reported.

It’s not clear what makes the owner of the store a “Nazi” …

“As an American, I am outraged. I’m offended, and I have to stand here in protest,” one protester, Kevin McGurk, told station WZTV.

“[The owner] using that symbol to sell [the patches] — I believe the original post said she was selling them for $5 — it just feels really disrespectful to me,” another protester, Daniel Grove, added.

It’s not clear if either man is Jewish.

Because of the backlash, prominent hat makers began distancing themselves from the company.

“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 156-year-old hat manufacturer Stetson announced in a tweet Saturday.


Another hat maker, Goorin Bros, announced via Instagram that it was “horrified by the display and selling of the Jewish badge by HatWRKS.”

“To make a mockery of the Holocaust in any form is unacceptable and completely insensitive. We are looking at all options to fix and address this unfortunate circumstance,” the manufacturer added.


Gigi Gaskins, the owner of hatWRKS, claims she’s being misunderstood. In Instagram posts published Saturday, she maintained that she didn’t “intend to trivialize the Star of David” or “exploit or make a profit” from it.

“[I] sincerely apologize for any insensitivity,” she wrote.

Instead, she argued, her intention was to bring bring attention to “the tyranny the world is experiencing.”

“[Y]our children cannot return to school unless you show your papers. [Y]ou cannot return to university unless you show your papers. [Y]ou cannot keep your job unless you show your papers. [Y]ou cannot use public transportation unless you show your papers. [Y]ou cannot enter government buildings unless you show your papers,” she wrote.

After citing a couple more examples, she warned that “there is a historical parallel to fascism to be drawn.”

View her posts below:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by hatWRKS (@hatwrksnashville)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by hatWRKS (@hatwrksnashville)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by hatWRKS (@hatwrksnashville)

To be clear, the Republican governor of her state, Bill Lee, is a vocal critic of “vaccine passports.”

In another post published Sunday morning, she wondered why it was OK for so much hate to be directed at her.

“[W]hen does it become so acceptable & fashionable to just spew hate on others? [I]f one is sincere in fighting hate, the hate that has come my way, even before now, is beyond comprehension. [I] have NEVER done that to another human being in my life. [Y]et, people will read this and hate all the more,” she wrote.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by hatWRKS (@hatwrksnashville)

She wasn’t wrong. Twitter is teeming with genuinely hateful tweets about her. Apparently, many in the public believe that the best way to fight perceived hate from someone who claims she’s just being misunderstood and has since apologized is with more hate.


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