Facebook bans artist after she posted swastika made of MAGA hats

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver

As Facebook cracks down on white nationalist content, a left-wing artist was caught in the crosshairs after the network said her MAGA hat-inspired artwork violated community guidelines.

Kate Kretz, a Maryland-based artist, refashions Donald Trump’s infamous “Make America Great Again” hats into traditional symbols of white supremacy and hatred, such as the Ku Klux Klan hood and a swastika armband.

Ms Kretz does not create this art because she believes in white supremacy, but rather “to both call out wearers who claim the hats to be innocuous, and to sound the alarm that history is repeating itself,” she wrote in a blog post.

After Ms Kretz’s MAGA swastika armband was taken down by Facebook, she appealed the removal decision and reposted the image with the caption: “This is not hate speech. This is an art piece addressing hate speech.”

Facebook didn’t respond to Ms Kretz’s appeal in a timely manner, but did respond to the republication of her art by freezing her Facebook account, leaving her unable to post or interact with her followers.

As an artist, Ms Kretz uses social media as a platform to maintain her livelihood, and to be booted from the platform can be detrimental.

Ms Kretz’s ban comes after Facebook’s recently adopted policies on white nationalism as the company was criticised for being historically lax on white supremacist content.

“I understand doing things for the greater good,” Ms Kretz told local news station WUSA-TV.

“However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

A petition to restore Ms Kretz’s Facebook account is available to sign. “It is important for artists who we agree or disagree with to be able to show their work,” the petition notes. For now, Ms Kretz’s artwork is accessible on her website.