Hat Shop Apologizes for Selling 'Not Vaccinated' Badges Modeled After Star of David

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Posted: May 30, 2021 9:45 AM

A Tennessee hat store has apologized amid backlash for selling "Not Vaccinated" badges symbolic of the yellow stars Jewish people were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe. 

The apology came late Saturday as hatWRKS faces protests, threats of a boycott and the loss of a business partner.

Protesters held signs outside the store that read "No Nazis in Nashville" and "Sell Hats Not Hate."

The company's Instagram page said in a statement:

In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. My hope was to share my genuine concern & fear and to do all that I can to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity.

The Nashville store came under fire after the promotion of the $5 "Not Vaccinated" patches, modeled after the Star of David, which was used to identify, segregate and dehumanize Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Europe, Townhall previously reported.

The picture of one of the badges, initially posted on their Instagram page, has since been deleted.

HatWRKS also faced criticisms over the comparison of COVID-19 vaccine passports to Nazis demanding Jewish people show their papers, which was posted on the company's Instagram

The John B Stetson Company, one of the store's partners, said in a statement Saturday night that it would no longer sell its products to hatWRKS.

Another company that has previously sold hats to the Tennessee store is currently reviewing options regarding the controversy surrounding hatWRKS and how they plan to move forward.

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. The Jewish badge was a key element used by Nazis beginning in 1939 who planned to persecute and eventually murder millions of Jews. They used the badge to humiliate, segregate, and control the movement of all Jews over seven years old. To make a mockery of the Holocaust in any form is unacceptable and completely insensitive. We are looking at all options to fix and address this unfortunate circumstance.

Prior to their apology post, hatWRKS had posted to Instagram their frustration over the backlash they had received as a result of "Not Vaccinated" yellow stars.

The social media post read: 

[P]eople are so outraged by my post … but are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing? [I]f 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 & compliance,” the statement said. [T]hat is the worse [sic] crime. [I]t was then & is now. [I] will delete your disgust and hope you put it where it belongs.

The company said in a Sunday post that it was being accused of the "very things" they were fighting against, noting that they had been a staunch opponent of government overreach.

[I] was willing to put my business on the line to stand up for the freedoms that we still have in our country.