The Slatest

Brands Cut Ties With Nashville Store Selling “Not Vaccinated” Star of David Patches

Protesters stand outside hatWRKS in Nashville on May 29, 2021 in this screenshot from a WZTV news report.
Protesters stand outside hatWRKS in Nashville on May 29, 2021 in this screenshot from a WZTV news report. Screenshot/WZTV

The owner of a hat store in Nashville has apologized after sparking an uproar over selling patches of the yellow Star of David that read “not vaccinated.” The store, hatWRKS, at first defended the patches, which it had announced were for sale at $5 each. After protesters gathered outside hatWRKS and brands cut ties with the store, it took down the post advertising the patches, which had an eerie resemblance to the badges that Jewish people were forced to wear under the Nazis. The post, which included an image of store owner Gigi Gaskins wearing the patch, had promised that “we’ll be offering trucker caps soon.”

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The apology was not immediate. When the initial post announcing the sale of patches was taken down, hatWRKS put up another post that questioned why there was so much outrage over the patch and not about what was going on in the world. “People are so outraged by my post? but are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing? if you don’t understand what is happening, that is on you, not me,” reads the post. The store doubled down on the defense, writing another post justifying the patches saying that those who aren’t vaccinated are victims. “At the least, all unvaccinated people will be segregated from society, marked & must wear a mask,” reads the Instagram post that is still up. “What comes next?”

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A group of demonstrators gathered outside the store Saturday with signs that read, “No Nazis in Nashville” and “Nashville condemns hatWRKS.” The store later posted an apology message on Instagram but that didn’t stop several hat brands from announcing they had cut ties with hatWRKS, including Stetson. “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,” Stetson said on Twitter. Other brands, including Tula Hats and Kangol Headwear, also said they were no longer going to sell their products to hatWRKS. “We feel strongly that we were right to give Gigi Gaskins at hatWRKS Nashville the chance to change,” wrote Kangol Headwear on Instagram. “We did that. However, her further posts indicate to us that she is not sincere in her apology, nor has she removed offensive posts from her feed.”

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