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‘No Nazis in Nashville!’ Protesters besiege hat store, brands cut ties with owner who brandished ‘not vaccinated’ yellow star

Crowds of protesters and journalists swarmed around the outlet on 8th Ave S. on Saturday, after its owner caused a stir online with a controversial Instagram post that sought to promote a new item in stock – designed around one of the most widely known symbols of the Holocaust.

Facing a wave of outrage, the store owner deleted the original post, but hit back at critics, wondering if they were similarly “outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing,” apparently referring to government restrictions imposed through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Her apparent lack of “remorse” has incited activists to double down in their calls for a boycott, to which multiple brand names already responded.

“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,” said a US company that was once the largest hat company in the world, adding that it “condemns antisemitism and discrimination of any kind.”

“Goorin Bros is horrified by the display and selling of the Jewish badge by HatWRKS, a store in Nashville Tennessee, that sells some of our hats,” said another famous hat brand. “We are looking at all options to fix and address this unfortunate circumstance.”

An Australian hat manufacturer Akubra also rushed to distance itself from HatWRKS, saying that the “content, opinions and value of this stockist are not ones shared by Akubra and as a result we have taken action to cease trading with them.”

In the meantime, Bailey Hats said the “use of the Star of David by our customer as a statement against vaccination was not just insensitive, but disrespectful and wrong. We encouraged our customer to issue a sincere apology for her mistake and have suspended her account in the meantime.”

The store owner, Gigi Gaskins, who made several attempts to rationalize her intentions, indeed issued an apology on Saturday night, which however is unlikely to appease her critics. 

“In no way did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people… I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity,” she said in an Instagram post. 

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