UPDATED 5/30, 4:15 p.m. ET: A hat shop in Nashville, Tennessee has apologized on Instagram amid protests outside of the store following its decision to sell a “Not Vaccinated” patch that resembled the yellow Star of David.
It’s unclear if the apology came from hatWRKS owner Gigi Gaskins, but it reads that the decision was to “in no way trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people.”
“That is not who I am & what I stand for,” the post read. “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 make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity.”
Other posts from the account shared concerns over “government outreach” over the pandemic, as demonstrators flocked to the hatWRKS storefront this weekend to share their own concerns, holding signs that read “No Nazis in Nashville” and “Nashville condemns hatWRKS,” CNN reports.
“We’re here to protest hate and ignorance with regard to what she’s doing in selling yellow stars that are a symbol of the greatest atrocity the world has ever seen, which is the loss of 6 million human beings,” Nashville resident Ron Rivlin told WSMV.
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A Nashville, Tennessee hat shop is facing backlash for selling “Not Vaccinated” stick-on patches that resemble the yellow Star of David.
Earlier this week, the hatWRKS store advertised the badges in a since-deleted Instagram post showing the shop’s owner, Gigi Gaskins, smiling and wearing a bright yellow star sticker with the words: “Not Vaccinated.” The post also mentioned that the stars were $5 apiece and featured a “strong adhesive back.”
The advertisement was met with outrage on Twitter, with users calling for the store to be boycotted.
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder was one of many people who responded to the post, recalling the racism his mother faced as a young child: “As a young school girl in Holland, my mother was forced to wear a yellow star by the Nazis to identify her as a Jew. It’s beyond grotesque to sell this evil symbol to proclaim one’s not vaccinated. Where does this end?”
Feeling the heat from social media, hatWRKS deleted the controversial post, only to then defend the move in a subsequent Instagram statement.
“People are so outraged by my post?” the store’s account wrote in a 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. I pay much more respect to history by standing up with the fallen than offering silence and compliance.”