“This is not hate speech. This is an art piece addressing hate speech.”
Katie Kretz, a Maryland-based critic of President Donald Trump, transforms the red hats by ripping them apart and turning them into swastika armbands or KKK hoods, WUSA9 reported last week. She told KVTU that she buys knockoffs rather than official Trump campaign merchandise to avoid “putting any money in [the president’s] pocket.”
“I read a lot about people who are wearing these hats, and they say that they’re harmless, they’re innocuous. And this series is a way of calling them out,” she explained to WUSA9.
Kretz first posted a photo of one of her “MAGA”-hat armbands to Facebook in early May.
“The arm band is actually titled, ‘Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,’ and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats, because they’re afraid of violence,” she wrote in the post. “It’s not really up to the wearer to say ‘oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.'”
Her creation won plaudits from fans. But Facebook removed the post within a few days, saying it violated its prohibition on “hate speech.”
Kretz then reposted the photo, saying: “This is not hate speech. This is an art piece addressing hate speech.”
Two days later, the company kicked her off the platform entirely.
Kretz has filed an appeal. She told WUSA9 that she understands “doing things for the greater good. But she “believes Facebook owes artists a “fair hearing.” she said.
According to Kretz, she can’t support herself financially without the page.
MAGA hat hate
Kretz is not alone is viewing the “MAGA” hat as a symbol of hate. The reasoning is straightforward: Trump is racist, sexist and anti-LGBT, so his signature hat represents all those things.
The president’s supporters, of course, generally deny that’s what supporting Trump is about. Their viewpoint was given given some statistical weight this week when University of Pennsylvania researchers published a study suggesting that Americans have become less prejudiced as a result of Trump’s presidency.
Theory aside, Kretz is just the latest in a series of Trump haters to go after the “MAGA” hat and pay a price.
In April, a California woman went missing after she filmed herself harassing a man in the hat at a local Starbucks, causing her to lose her job and face national backlash.
In February, a woman who attacked a man wearing the hat was found to have immigrated to the United States illegally and was deported.
In January, a liberal comedian drew attention to herself by offering oral sex to anyone who punched “MAGA” hat-wearing Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann in the face. She was subsequently exposed for lying about writing for “Saturday Night Live.”