Nazi imagery is being sold at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
It’s the largest motorcycle rally in the world, drawing scores of riders and revelers.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned this year’s festivities might again become a superspreader event.
As hundreds of thousands of bikers ride into Sturgis, South Dakota, for its annual motorcycle rally – the largest in the world – vendors selling merchandise featuring racist imagery have come into the spotlight.
According to the South Dakota ABC affiliate KOTA, some vendors at this year’s rally, which runs August 6-15, are selling merchandise bearing Nazi imagery and Confederate flags.
One hat bore the stylized initials “SS” of the Schutzstaffel, a Nazi military unit. Under the hat’s lid, the text said “support your local white boy.” Another was branded with a swastika.
KOTA interviewed one vendor, Jenny Alonso, who defended selling merchandise with offensive imagery.
“A lot of bikers, you know, it’s a freedom thing,” Alonso told KOTA. “A lot of bikers want to be free and voice their opinion and I like to cater to what they want. It doesn’t mean that I necessarily believe in everything but, you know, I like to please everybody.”
Alonso described Nazi merchandise as a way to honor US soldiers who brought Nazi memorabilia back as trophies after World War II.
“So, we’re kind of honoring that not necessarily that, you know, we believe in Nazis and Hitler, but it’s just kind of a special thing that the US military was able to go and win the war and bring things back as souvenirs and they would put them on their bike,” Alonso said.
According to the KOTA report, many vendors also sold Confederate-inspired memorabilia, catering to customers who view the Confederate battle flag as a “heritage” symbol.
On its website, organizers say the rally is a place for people of “all walks of life who share a common love for motorcycles.” Insider reached out to the organizers for comment on the merchandise sold at the rally.
Last week, as it was reported that the rally drew some of its largest crowds in years, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was concerned it would become a COVID-19 superspreader event amid a surge of the Delta coronavirus variant in the US.
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