More designers have cut ties with Nashville’s hatWRKS over concerns about antisemitism. The shop has faced a national backlash after offering Star of David badges like those worn in Nazi Germany that say “not vaccinated.”
The Holocaust symbol has been used by anti-vaxxers since before the pandemic. Nearly a year before COVID hit, an opponent of all vaccines pinned a “no vax” Star of David to his lapel at a public event in Texas. Del Bigtree, who founded the Informed Consent Action Network, said it was an act of solidarity with Hasidic Jews in New York who were in the middle of a measles outbreak linked to their low vaccination rates.
But then and now, many Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League find the imagery offensive. Nashville’s Frances Cutler Hahn, 83, escaped the Holocaust as a child but her mother died at Auschwitz. She says the star was a death sentence.
“For it to be trivialized and for people to think that asking them to be vaccinated is comparable, is outlandish,” she says.
Hahn says the vaccine is a life saver.
The owner of hatWRKS, Gigi Gaskins, declined to be interviewed by WPLN News, saying she would only talk to a Fox News personality.
But her statement on Instagram says she wasn’t trying to trivialize the Star of David. She says she’s speaking out against what she sees as a march toward totalitarianism.