- Nazi images are sold at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
- It is the largest motorcycle rally in the world, attracting dozens of bikers and revelers.
- Dr Anthony Fauci warned that this year’s festivities could once again become a big-ticket event.
As hundreds of thousands of bikers travel to Sturgis, South Dakota for its annual motorcycle rally – the world’s largest – vendors selling merchandise featuring racist images are in the spotlight.
According to South Dakota ABC affiliate KOTA, some vendors in attendance at this year’s rally, which runs August 6-15, are selling merchandise bearing Nazi images and Confederate flags.
One hat bore the stylized initials “SS” of the Schutzstaffel, a Nazi military unit. Under the hat lid, the text read “support your local white boy”. Another was marked with a swastika.
KOTA interviewed a salesperson, Jenny Alonso, who defended the sale of merchandise with offensive images.
“A lot of bikers, you know, it’s about the freedom,” Alonso told KOTA. “A lot of bikers want to be free and express their opinion and I like to respond to whatever they want. It doesn’t mean that I necessarily believe in everything but, you know, I like to please everyone.”
Alonso described the Nazi wares as a way to honor American soldiers who brought back Nazi memorabilia as trophies after World War II.
“So we kind of honor the fact that not necessarily, you know, we believe in the Nazis and Hitler, but it’s just a special thing that the US military was able to go and win the war and bring back things as memories. and they put them on their bikes, ”Alonso said.
According to the KOTA report, many vendors also sold Confederate-inspired memorabilia, intended for customers who view the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of “heritage.”
On its website, the organizers say the rally is a place for people from “all walks of life who share a common love for motorcycles”. Insider has reached out to organizers for comment on the merchandise sold at the rally.
Last week, when it was reported that the rally had drawn some of its biggest crowds in years, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was concerned let it become a COVID-19 super-spreader event amid a wave of the Delta coronavirus variant in the United States.