A Nashville hat shop on Saturday stood by its promotion of a yellow badge in the shape of the Star of David emblazoned with the words “NOT VACCINATED” as a few demonstrators protested outside.
Organizers planned an afternoon demonstration at Hatwrks, and social media posts showed a few protesters alongside a banner that read, “NO NAZIS IN NASHVILLE.”
An Instagram post featuring the item and teasing forthcoming “trucker caps” with a similar decoration was no longer active Saturday, but Hatwrks appeared to defend its use of an anti-Semitic, Nazi-affiliated symbol as a statement on contemporary vaccination efforts.
In an Instagram post Saturday it said, “all unvaccinated people will be segregated from society, marked & must wear a mask. what comes next?”
“there is a historical parallel to fascism to be drawn,” the hat shop said.
Hatwrks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The business expressed support on its Instagram account for former President Donald Trump and conspiracy theories that the election was stolen as a result of unfounded voter fraud.
In a Friday post, Hatwrks asked if people outraged by its yellow patch were also “outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing,” apparently in reference to government efforts to get people vaccinated amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans.
Yellow badges in the shape of a Star of David were used in Nazi Germany to identify Jewish people.
Western hat maker Stetson, under pressure to cut ties with Hatwrks, tweeted Saturday afternoon that it would no longer distribute products to the store.
“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,” it said.
The controversy erupted after U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, tweeted Tuesday about a grocery store chain that allows inoculated employees to go maskless while wearing vaccination logos on their name tags: “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
Many, including fellow Republicans, condemned the comparison. “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said in a statement.
Responding to Hatwrks’ yellow star, Nashville-area Rabbi Laurie Rice told NBC affiliate WSMV, “For me there’s no question, getting vaccinated is putting the community first.”
She said she would welcome a conversation with the store owner about history.
“Using the yellow star, or any Holocaust imagery for anything is a disservice to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust,” Rice said.
The patch also lit up corners of the internet. Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an organization opposed to far-right politics and Trump, tweeted of the item: “Repugnant as hell.”