HatWRKS, a hat store in Nashville, was caught promoting badges of the yellow Star of David with the lettering, “Not Vaccinated”. They have been accused of anti-Semitism since its Star of David design is similar to the one that the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.
This caught attention because of an Instagram post hatWRKS posted to promote it. Shortly after it got attention, they immediately took it down and turned off all comments. HatWRKS gave the impression that they were not completely in the wrong, until many other important brands heard about the situation. Once Stetson, a popular brand that sell their products to hatWRKS, found out about their insensitive post about anti-Semitism, they decided to cut ties. Stetson sent out a tweet stating how they will no longer associate with hatWRKS.
“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”(Stetson).From Stetson’s Twitter account
Shortly after Stetson announced that they were cutting ties, hatWRKS decided to address the situation with their insensitive post.
“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 to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity”(@/hatwrksnashville).From hatWRKS’s official Instagram
Although, people were quick to become skeptical on whether hatWRKS was actually genuine, or only apologized when they realized they are going to lose profit and already lost an associated brand. Therefore, many people decided to go and protest. With posters reading “No Nazis in Nashville” and “Nashville condemns hatWRKS,” a group of protestors gathered outside the business early Saturday morning. The yellow Star of David is not something to associate with something satire and offensive, so people went out to accentuate the severity of what hatWRKS did wrong. According to WSMV-news, more people were offended over the association of a serious topic during the holocaust rather than the anti-vaccine promotion. For example, one person that WSMV interviewed said, “This is not about vaccine or anti-vaccine. People are free to make their own decisions. Jews didn’t have a choice whether to wear that star or not. They were forced to wear that star and that led to their eventual death,”(Rivlin, WSMV). The design and execution was extremely ignorant and deserved to be brought to light. No matter the message, people should not be using symbols that date back to traumatizing historical events.