Iconic Texas hatmaker Stetson cuts ties with Nashville store after it offered ‘not vaccinated’ Star of David badges

People stage a Together Against Antisemitism rally in London's Parliament Square in December 2019.
People stage a Together Against Antisemitism rally in London’s Parliament Square in December 2019. Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
  • A hat shop in Nashville drew backlash after reportedly selling yellow star “not vaccinated” badges.
  • Texas hatmaker Stetson, whose hats are sold at the store, set they were cutting ties due to the incident.
  • The store, which did not initially apologize, has since apologized for “any insensitivity.”
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Stetson cut ties with a hat store in Nashville, Tennessee, Saturday after it came under fire for reportedly selling yellow “not vaccinated” badges that resembled the Star of David.

The iconic Texas hatmaker said in a statement Saturday morning it was investigating the incident and that “along with our distribution partners, Stetson condemns antisemitism and discrimination of any kind.”

Hours later the brand followed up: “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.”

The hat store, HatWRKS, sparked outrage after it posted a since-deleted photo on Instagram of a smiling woman wearing a yellow six-pointed star badge that read “not vaccinated.”

-Brendan May (@bmay) May 28, 2021

The Star of David was used by Nazis in the Holocaust, during which approximately 6 million Jews were killed, to identify Jewish people, who were forced to wear them.

The Instagram post said “patches are here!!” and that they were being sold for $5 each, according to screenshots. It immediately triggered backlash online, with social media users calling the badge antisemitic and using the hashtag #HateWorks.

After deleting the initial post, the store, which USA Today reported is run by hatmaker Gigi Gaskins, followed up with two additional posts railing against “tyranny.”

“People are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing?” an image shared on Instagram read.

On Saturday, hours after Stetson’s announcement, the store shared a third post apologizing for “any insensitivity.”

“In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people,” the post said. “My hope was to share my genuine concern and fear, and to do all that I can to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.”

Earlier Saturday, protesters had gathered outside the store, local WKRN reported. One sign read “sell hats not hate” and a large banner was hung from the shop that read “no Nazis in Nashville.”

Hatmaker Goorin Bros, which is also sold at HatWRKS, said in a statement they were “horrified” by the incident and are also weighing how to address it.