Woman becomes lightning rod after shaming man on Facebook for wearing MAGA hat
A woman who thought she was being progressive by shouting at an elderly man wearing a MAGA hat now finds herself the target of many who say she was just being abusive
A Palo Alto, Calif., woman who lambasted a man and posted photos on social media of him wearing a red and white MAGA hat has found herself at the center of a national firestorm.
The campaign slogan acronym now most associated with President Trump has been viewed by people of color and Democrats as a lightning-rod expression evoking thoughts of exclusion.
But whatever Rebecca Parker Mankey was thinking when she posted the photo of the 74-year-old man wearing such a hat to her Facebook page on Monday, people around the country, particularly conservatives, are saying she attacked the man’s freedom of speech and harassed him. Before her Facebook account was deactivated, multiple conservative accounts on social media posted copies of the post, prompting death threats to her, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
She wrote in the now inaccessible Facebook post that she encountered the man at a Starbucks shop, and upon seeing him with the red hat on, began shouting at him, “It is not okay to hate brown people” and ordering him to “get out of my town and never come back,” according to the Mercury News.
She also wrote in her post, “He will never forget me and will think seriously about wearing that hat in my town ever again.”
According to the Palo Alto Weekly, she also tweeted:
“I am going to publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired and kicked out of every club he is in. I am going to go to his house march up and down carrying a sign that says he hates black people. I am going to organize protests where he works to make him feel as unsafe as he made every brown person he met today.”
A search for her Twitter account revealed that it has been suspended. Further, multiple news organizations have tried unsuccessfully to reach Mankey.
The 46-year-old woman, whose post can no longer be accessed, was fired April 2 from her accounting job at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, according to the Palo Alto Daily Post.
“We understand how passionate she is regarding politics. We never could have imagined it would have escalated to this kind of ordeal,” Gryphon Strings store manager Matt Lynch told the local paper. “Putting political beliefs aside, you know, we are just not going to tolerate that kind of harassment from any of our employees, no matter what position they hold here.”
The man, identified only as Victor F. by San Francisco station KPIX, told the station, “You know America is still a free country, right?”
Victor F., says he is a regular customer at the Palo Alto Starbucks where the confrontation took place and that he does not know Mankey.
“This crazy woman came over and started raving at me,” Victor F. said, saying that Mankey called him a Nazi and took photos of him, promising to shame him.
She left and came back, telling other customers, “Hey everybody here’s this racist and so on,” Victor F. told the station.
He added, “She didn’t want to discuss the issues with me, she wanted just to scream about nazis and so on.”
Mankey was defiant, saying in her post: “You do not want to be the person who didn’t speak up as we slipped into fascism.”
Although she called him “Nazi scum,” he told the Palo Alto Weekly that ironically, he is Jewish. He also said nobody stood up for him when the woman verbally attacked him.
“It would’ve been touching,” he said. But he also said that there is nothing offensive about his hat and used historical context.
“Let me ask you: The phrase Make America Great — is there anything negative in it? In the 1952 election, people wore ‘I Like Ike’ buttons, but no one saw it as a threat,” he told the Palo Alto Weekly.