The fire-engine red hat worn by supporters of President Trump are probably the most divisive fashion item since Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.
While Trump hats come in a rainbow of colors (everything from black to camo) they all bear his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” “MAGA” for short.
In left-leaning states, wearers choose to don the iconic headwear at their peril. There have been several reports of New York City of wearers being publicly shamed and in one instance denied service.
Greg Piatek, 30, an accountant from Philadelphia, was turned away from the Happiest Hour, a West Village watering hole, for wearing his Trump hat. According to Piatek, a manager escorted him out and said, “Anyone who supports Trump — or believes what you believe — is not welcome here! And you need to leave right now, because we won’t serve you!”
Piatek had met some friends for drinks and at first were served. As the staff caught wind of his political leanings, however, he and his friends were ignored, and Piatek ultimately turned away. He has filed a lawsuit against the bar for discrimination.
Wearing the hat in public has become something of a social experiment. A woman revisited the Happiest Hour to see if she, too, would be asked to leave. The manager of the bar traded her his brand-new hat in exchange for her MAGA cap. Before the night was over, she was able to auction off the hat for $150 to some fellow patrons. The man who bought it was then asked to leave.
New York Post Reporter Dean Balsamini tried his own Trump hat experiment and was met with either indifference or ridicule. While visiting the Stonewall Inn, a famous West Village gay bar, a patron scolded him, saying: “You come into a gay bar — this gay bar — with that hat?”
Right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe filmed his own take on the NYC Trump hat experiment, having a young black man walk around the city for 10 hours wearing a Trump hat and T-shirt. He received comments varying from “Why are you so dumb?” to “You’re ignorant.”
While most episodes spark harsh words, they can occasionally spark violence. A woman attending a speech by the alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley was maced by an anti-fascist protester. It was later discovered that her red hat said “Make Bitcoin Great Again.” The Berkeley protests became national news after they resulted in a reported $100,000 of property damage.
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