Who owns HatWRKS? Nashville hat shop selling 'not vaccinated' Star of David patches slammed as 'Hateworks'
The owner deleted the controversial Instagram post, promoting anti-Semitic Nazi-era patches, but hasn't apologized leading to widespread condemnation
A Nashville artist created a huge uproar after she promoted an anti-Semitic patch on Instagram. Gigi Gaskins, owner of HatWRKS in the Tennessee capital has since taken down her post, but she hasn't apologized. Instead, she's slammed critics in another Instagram post, which is still up on the HatWRKS Instagram page.
The Star of David patch comes as Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene is currently in the middle of a major controversy, after comparing mask mandates to Jews being forced to wear the Star during Nazi Germany. It's unclear if Gaskins was inspired by Greene's controversial comments, or if the timing is just a coincidence. Greene has been denounced by not just Democrats, but also leading Republicans like Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
Gaskins was quickly forced to delete the post, and it appears the product is no longer available for sale. The Star of David patch reads 'not vaccinated' and isn't visible on the HatWRKS webstore anymore. Her original post has been screenshotted and shared on Instagram, and is now leading to a deluge of angry comments on both Instagram and Twitter.
About HatWRKS and its owner
Nashville resident Gigi Gaskins turned to hat-making by complete coincidence. Prior to HatWRKS, Gaskins made stained glass windows and owned a glass and gift shop in Hendersonville. She told the Tennessean, "In September of 2009, I went to see 'Coco Before Chanel' at the Belcourt. She was making hats. I had never contemplated hats in my life. I thought, 'That was interesting.' I went home and immediately Googled and found a course on hat-making in Portland, Oregon, and signed up immediately."
That course focused on woman's hats drew Gaskins interest in men's hats. "It's not anything goes with a man's hat. It's much more specific when it comes to techniques; it's more about the proper finish and quality shape," she said. She spent a large portion of 2010 seeking out the secrets to men's hatmaking, which wasn't as widely available as women's hatmaking. Eventually, in 2011, she opened up HatWRKS, mostly as a workshop but it quickly drew the attention of customers.
Gaskins' store is the first major hatmaking store in Nashville after Ju's Hatters shut shop in the early 2000s. All of Gaskins' hats are handmade, using traditional techniques she picked up from various hatters around the US. Since it's opening, the store has become something of a local institution. Of late, Gaskins has used the HatWRKS page to go increasingly political. A large number of posts on the businesses' social media pages feature pro-GOP content. A number of her Instagram posts have also been flagged as 'false information'. Gaskins has also put up numerous controversial billboards in Nashville.
A star of controversy
While almost all of HatWRKS social media content today is political, it hasn't really drawn the attention of too many people before. Gaskins has posted anti-vax content in the past, as well as criticism of Black Lives Matter and anti-mask content. Now, however, she has drawn the ire of social media for her latest patch. The patch, designed to look exactly like the Star of David, was announced by Gaskins on Instagram. That came to everyone's attention thanks to an account called 'HatWRKS blocked'.
While she deleted her post, Gaskins did not offer an apology. Instead, she said, "people are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing?" That post is still up on the HatWRKS Instagram page, without a caption or any explanation.
Gaskins also used the Star of David patch as her profile picture on Facebook, before quickly replacing it with an American flag. The patch led to widespread condemnation on social media, as the screenshot was shared.
Gaskins makes 'MGT look tame'
The Tennessee Holler tweeted, "NASHVILLE — Hatworks is literally selling Jewish stars that say “Not Vaccinated” — out here making MTG look tame." Another said, "Hatworks is now selling patches of the Star of David with “Not Vaccinated” on them. I honestly am lost for words on this. These people have gone too far."
Hatworks is now selling patches of the Star of David with “Not Vaccinated” on them.— ❤️🔥🏳️⚧️💙Adlai💙🏳️🌈❤️🔥 (@AdlaisWorld) May 28, 2021
I honestly am lost for words on this. These people have gone too far.
Her store was also dubbed 'Hateworks' by one user who tweeted, "Antisemitic Karen and her store HateWorks - I’m sorry HATWorks - are not on Twitter. But they’re on Instagram! #Hateworks". Another said, "I deleted what I originally typed. Now she should go watch Schindler’s List with the Clockwork Orange forceps on her eyes."
I deleted what I originally typed. Now she should go watch Schindler’s List with the Clockwork Orange forceps on her eyes. https://t.co/O1kiKArqXh— Ethan Bearman (@EthanBearman) May 28, 2021
One user said, "I can't even form words right now to fully express my rage."
I can't even form words right now to fully express my rage. https://t.co/6s7qp5Tbxr— Red 💉💉 (@Redpainter1) May 28, 2021
The Star of David is a contentious topic right now, with Rep. Greene refusing to apologize despite being condemned by members of her own party. Now, several users are calling for HatWRKS to be boycotted in similar fashion, but the store appears to be up and running for now.