protest at Hatworks

Photo credit: Laura Thompson, Shutterstock

What was the Accusation?

A Nashville hat store faced a backlash after announcing it was selling $5 yellow patches that looked like the Star of David, but with the words “not vaccinated.” The company also compared vaccine passports to what the New York Times called “the Nazi practice of requesting your papers. Gigi Gaskins, the owner of the store, HatWRKS, posted a message on Instagram showing a picture of herself smiling and wearing the patch. Initialing defending her decision, she wrote, “People are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing?” It’s not clear what she meant, but news reports said that Gaskins was drawing comparisons between what Nazi Germany did during World War II, “forcing Jews to wear a signifier marking them for death (6 million died in gas chambers from 1941-1945)” and the U.S. government’s mandate to wear masks. Supporters of former President Donald Trump, including GOP House member Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have said the same thing, perhaps making Gaskins feel more emboldened.

She added: “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.” But that message did not go over well with protesters, who held signs in front of her shop reading “The Holocaust is not a marketing op” and “Sell Hats Not Hate.” Hat makers like Stetson immediately severed ties with the store. And Ivo Daalder, U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013, said on Twitter: “It’s beyond grotesque to sell this evil symbol to proclaim one’s not vaccinated. Where does this end?” At this point, Gaskins had no choice but to delete her original post and post an apology, “In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. That is not who I am & what I stand for.”

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Good Intentions, Bolstering




In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. 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.


hatworks instagram post


Al Jazeera (2021, May 31). US hat shop owner denounced for sale of Star of David patches. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/31/tennessee-hat-shop-denounced-for-sale-of-star-of-david-patches

Bashinsky, R. (2021, June 2). Nashville hat store issues apology after controversial ‘Star of David’ post. Inside Edition. Retrieved from https://www.insideedition.com/nashville-hat-store-issues-apology-after-controversial-star-of-david-post-that-went-viral-spurred