HatWRKS of Nashville posted a photo to Instagram on Friday announcing the sale of a Star of David patch that says “NOT VACCINATED,” according to CNN affiliates WZTV and WSMV. The message has since been deleted.
The caption on the post read: “The patches are here !! they turned out great. $ 5 apiece. Strong adhesive back …. we will be offering trucker caps soon.”
CNN made several attempts to reach store owner Gigi Gaskins, but received no response.
Jews in Europe were legally forced to wear badges as early as the 13th century, according to the Holocaust Memorial Center. The Nazis resurrected the practice, which facilitated the “separation of Jews from society and the ensuing ghettoization, which ultimately led to the deportation and murder of 6 million Jews,” the centre’s website says.
After the post was deleted, another hatWRKS post from Friday read, “People are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged by the tyranny the world is experiencing? Me.”
Stetson announced his decision to stop selling his products to hatWRKS hours after he tweeted that he was investigating the complaints.
Protesters react to the message
A group of protesters gathered outside the store on Saturday morning with signs reading “No Nazis in Nashville” and “Nashville condemns hatWRKS,” according to a WSMV video.
“We are here to protest the hatred and ignorance of what she is doing by selling yellow stars which are a symbol of the greatest atrocity the world has ever seen, which is the loss of 6 million dollars. ‘human beings,’ said Ron Rivlin, a Nashville resident. WSMV Saturday in front of the hat store.
“I think I understand what she was trying to do, but the way she did it was right, she doesn’t understand how offensive it is to the Jewish community and to everyone,” said Rivlin.
“It’s not about the vaccine or the anti-vaccine. People are free to make their own decisions,” Rivlin added. “The Jews had no choice whether to wear this star or not. They were forced to wear this star and it led to their deaths,” Rivlin said.
“It’s a terrible idea. It’s a terrible thing,” Roger Abramson, an attorney from Brentwood, Tennessee, told WSMV.
“There’s no way you can reasonably combine choosing to go without Covid vaccines … and assuming you’re in the same location as a Jewish person in Nazi Germany,” Abramson said.
“To me, it’s willful ignorance,” Abramson continued. “The information is out there. People willfully ignore the facts, the information and the story because it doesn’t match what they want to believe or it doesn’t match their story.”
Rabbi Laurie Rice, of the Micah Congregation in Brentwood, told WSMV on Friday that “using the yellow star or any image of the Holocaust for anything is a real disservice to the memory of the 6 million of Jews who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. ”
CNN’s Alta Spells contributed to this report.