STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — An image of Staten Island Home Depot worker wearing a hat emblazoned with the words “America was never great” sparked an outrage when it surfaced online Wednesday, even leading to death threats.
Krystal Lake, 22, of St. George, was seen wearing the hat during her shift at Home Depot Sunday morning.
The phrasing “America was never great” is inspired by presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Lake told the Staten Island Advance she woke up to texts, tweets and calls from people asking her about the photo, which was posted to Facebook and across other social media platforms.
She said that the point of the hat was to say, “America needs changing and improvement. I don’t think it’s a positive message to say, ‘Let’s look to the past.'”
Lake said Sunday was the first time she had ever worn the hat and was not reprimanded by the managers for doing so.
When the Staten Island Advance reached out for comment, Home Depot spokesman Stephan Holmes said the message on Lake’s hat does not reflect the opinions of Home Depot. The spokesman said if a manager had seen her wearing the hat, she would be asked to remove it.
Lake, who said she is a Bernie Sanders supporter, said she has seen other employees wearing pro-Trump pins, but no one has ever said anything to them.
Lake told the Staten Island Advance that she has received dozens of death threats on her social media accounts.
“People have been saying really racist things to me and that they’re going to come and find me,” Lake said, “and that what I said is disgraceful and I hate America — but I don’t hate America.
“I know there are a lot of opportunities here,” Lake added. “I just wish we would worry about making America better — not ‘great again.'”