Illinois teen says he was attacked in Seattle over MAGA hat
Jul 20, 2018, 4:50 PM | Updated: 7:04 pm
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
An Illinois teen on a summer vacation to Seattle with his family said he experienced an unwelcoming response from the Emerald City due to his political beliefs.
Ashton Hess, 17, who is avid in conservative political activism at both his school and in his congressional district, chose to wear a MAGA hat while sightseeing around town with his family. While he and his parents waited on a ride, Hess said someone knocked his hat off.
A Twitter user who goes by the name of “sweethan” and identifies as non-binary, later claimed responsibility for the attack.
“This guy [sic] just runs up and hits me in the head, knocking my hat off … he took off down the street with it, spit on it and threw it in the street, and he turned around and started cursing at me for no reason,” Hess described.*
According to Hess, the hat thief called him a racist and told him to get out of Seattle.
Hess said that even in a city as famously liberal as Seattle, it never occurred to him that he could be attacked over a piece of clothing. He said he sometimes receives dirty looks for the MAGA hat, but said he “never expected something like to be hit in the head over a hat I was wearing.”
The Illinois teen noted that he is not a fan of every single policy of President Trump’s, but in general supports the commander-in-chief proudly — and does not feel he should have to be afraid of showing his beliefs.
“I just want to show what I support without being bugged about it,” he said.
There is a double-standard in this country at the moment, Hess believes, that allows liberals to get away with verbally and physically assaulting people they disagree with, yet does not even let conservatives peacefully wear an article of clothing that shows their political views. It was for this reason that Hess said he had his phone ready to document the incident.
See Hess’ video (Warning: explicit warning)
“I want to expose the left for what they do … We have a First Amendment right to believe in whatever we want, and when that stuff gets out about the left side doing things like that, I do think it hurts them more than it helps them,” Hess said.
*As per AP style, people identifying as non-binary are referred to in an article with the pronouns they/them. However, Hess’ quotes referred to the perpetrator as “he.”