A small business in Tennessee has received major criticism over its idea to sell bright yellow Star of David patches sporting the phrase “Not Vaccinated” on them as a design attempting to echo the yellow Stars of David used by the Nazi party to mark the Jewish people.
Owned by Gigi Gaskins, the Nashville-based hat store named “hatWRKS” has issued its public apology through a post on its Instagram account this past Sunday. The post continually reiterated that they did not mean to insult or disrespect anyone by its selling of the Star of David patches.
“In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people,” pleaded Gaskins via her Instagram post apology.
“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,” continued Gaskins in her backtracking.
Gaskins quickly took down the original offending post that sparked the whole ordeal. It featured a front and center picture of Gaskins herself proudly showing off the Star of David patch and stated “trucker caps” sporting the exact same design would soon be available as well.
And here’s the scene at Hatworks/Hateworks today… pic.twitter.com/7LorTIvIKR
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 29, 2021
Almost immediately after the post was made, groups of protesters showed up outside of the business with signs and a clear schedule in order to show their clear disdain for the store and its owner. One group brought signs sporting a blown-up version of the photo of Gaskins wearing the offending merchandise to go alongside another group that brought a giant banner with the phrase “NO NAZIS IN NASHVILLE” prominently painted on it to hang in front of the store.
At first, the store and Gaskins tried to defend its choices about the Star of David design, responding to one criticizing post stating “all unvaccinated people will be segregated from society, marked & must wear a mask. what comes next?”
“There is a historical parallel to fascism to be drawn,” hatWRKS continued in its responses to the original post.
As a result of this event, several very large companies have decided to pull their merchandise out of the store. One prominent one was Stetson, which announced that it and all of its distribution partners were no longer going to be selling any products in the store at all.
“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,” tweeted Stetson.