An artist was banned from Facebook and Instagram after she used MAGA hats to create swastika armbands and KKK hoods.
The artist, Kate Kretz, has been using the infamous red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats to comment on her feelings towards Trump’s presidency and his message.
Kretz says her art works, which she calls ‘The MAGA Hat Collection’, are ‘meant to both call out wearers who claim the hats to be innocuous, and to sound the alarm that history is repeating itself’.
My FB account has been disabled since Thurs morning due to my new MAGA Hat series of ripped up MAGA hats resewn into new objects. Shown: "Hate Hat", 2019, deconstructed MAGA hats, thread, cotton. More at https://t.co/DbCyTTP9as #Censorship #censoredart pic.twitter.com/1QrPdU9zYq
— Kate Kretz (@kkretz4art) May 10, 2019
It seems Facebook, however, didn’t quite get the message, and instead reprimanded Kretz for ‘hate speech’ and banned her for ‘violating community standards’.
Kretz buys knock-off MAGA hats, rips them apart and stitches them back together in order to create her pieces of ‘traditional symbols of hatred’, such as Nazi armbands and Ku Klux Klan hoods, she writes on Medium.
Speaking to WUSA9, via Huffington Post, Kate said:
I understand doing things for the greater good. However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.
A Change.org petition to get Kretz back on social media reads:
It is important for Artists who we agree or disagree with to be able to show their work. Many make their living via social media platforms. Not only is this an issue of artistic freedom but of livelihood.
The artist says she has only bought knock-off MAGA hats to avoid ‘putting money in Trump’s pocket’, with the exception of one piece – titled The Disease That Thought It Was The Cure, in which she unravelled the hat thread by thread.
Kate’s Facebook page was suspended on May 9, blocking her from posting anything new. She appealed the decision, saying ‘This is not hate speech. This is an art piece addressing hate speech.’
On May 26, it seems the ban was lifted, as Kate posted a message thanking all her friends and followers for the support.
Writing on Medium, Kretz said she still has ‘at least three more in-progress pieces to come’ in her MAGA Hat Collection.
All of the images from the ongoing MAGA Hat series received an overwhelmingly positive response with thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Only a few people were offended by their cursory look at the swastika. Many more said that their initial reaction was “WTF?”, then they loved the piece even more when they saw what it actually was. One of the “Hate Hats” sold to a prominent collector within days.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.