Chris Pratt's choice of clothing caused some trouble with a few users on social media lately. The Avengers: Endgame star was photographed recently wearing a "Don't Tread On Me" t-shirt, leading some to make the connection to the slogan's adoption by white supremacists and far-right groups in recent years.
The symbol, featuring the coiled rattlesnake, American flag and slogan, is also know as the Gadsden flag and was designed during the time of the American Revolution. It is meant to be a representation of the United States' "willingness to strike at any time in the name of freedom." It would later become connected to the Navy and many members use it to show their pride, with recent years seeing more extreme groups claim it as their own.
This includes the Tea Party, far-right extremists and white supremacists according to a report in Newsweek.
Pratt faced some initial pushback on social media, with many proving that the flag's meaning has been perverted by extreme groups in recent years.
"Imagine my shock waking up today after I literally made a joke yesterday that I’m waiting for a Chris Pratt is a racist scandal," one user said on Twitter about the photographs.
At the same time, many stood up and supported the shirt by pointing out its history and original intent.
"How the hell is the 'don’t tread on me' flag, which is fully authorized by the [US Navy] racist? Stay strong [Chris Pratt]," a supporter wrote on Twitter.
After the initial story started to make the rounds, many more people had time to weigh in on the shirt, mostly with support for Pratt's decision.
"Oh please...I love the shirt and love Chris Pratt even more," one user wrote with a heart eyes emoji and an American flag emoji.
"Love the shirt!! We have those signs everywhere!! Wear it proudly!!" another wrote in a comment, while another showed their support for the actor, adding how they "admire Chris for staying strong in his beliefs and not bending."
Some comments also tied in the recent controversy with Nike's Betsy Ross flag sneakers and their cancellation after criticism from Colin Kaepernick and others.
"We can't pledge allegiance to the American flag, we can't stand during the national anthem for the American flag, we can't wear the Betsy Ross flag on a pair of shoes, and now a Gadsden flag is forbidden? Where did this hatred of flags come from?," the commenter wrote.0comments
In the end, it would seem there is strong support for Pratt based on the shirt's intended meaning. What seems to be ignored is how these messages and many others can be hijacked by groups that seem to avoid punishment all over history.
If anything, it isn't likely that Pratt is some far-right extremist. That's not to say his choice of clothing didn't excite a few of them.