News and Commentary

Chris Pratt Criticized For Wearing ‘White Supremacist’ T-Shirt. It’s Not. Not Even Close.

Actor Chris Pratt took heat online from far-left critics outrageously claiming a pro-American t-shirt he was photographed in was associated with “white supremacists.” The t-shirt in question has an image of a coiled snake overlapping an American flag with text under it reading, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

The shirt is basically a version of the Revolution-era Gadsden flag, which was recently re-popularized by small government conservatives of the Tea Party. Plainly put, there is no racial connection.

Vulture writer Hunter Harris posted the photo of Pratt in the shirt on Monday; Yahoo! picked up the “story” the next day, claiming the t-shirt featured a “controversial symbol” and showcasing online far-left critics.

Here are some of the hot takes, as highlighted by Yahoo!:

One Twitter user complained, “Andy Dwyer (Pratt’s ‘Parks And Recreation’ character) would never wear a shirt emblazoned with a white supremacist dogwhistle. Chris Pratt is unequivocally the worst Chris.”

“I like him, but all these small things about his politics makes me wonder when he’ll say something transphobic, tank his career, and do the full heel-turn into a Fox commentator,” a critic said.

“Ellen [P]age called him out and some of y’all didn’t listen now look at this s***,” said another critic.

In February, actress Ellen Page complained about Pratt attending a Christian church. The “Juno” star said Hillsong Church, which Pratt proudly attends, “is infamously anti lgbtq.” Pratt responded to Page, writing in part via social media that “nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”

Again, the symbol on Mr. Pratt’s shirt has no ties to race. New Yorker Magazine, reporting on the history of the Gadsden flag in 2016, acknowledged that it has no historical link to race (emphasis added):

The Gadsden flag is one of at least three kinds of flags created by independence-minded colonists in the run-up to the Revolutionary War, according to the writer and historian Marc Leepson, the author of “Flag: An American Biography.” Liberty flags featured that word on a variety of backdrops; the Pine Tree flag floated the slogan “An Appeal To Heaven” over a depiction of a pine tree. Neither endured like the design of Christopher Gadsden, a Charleston-born brigadier general in the Continental Army. His was by far the coolest, with its menacing rattler and provocative slogan. … Later, in what may be America’s first-ever political cartoon, [Benjamin] Franklin published the famous “Join or Die” image, which depicts the American colonies as segments of a snake. Among other borrowers, Paul Revere put the snake in a seventeen-seventies newspaper nameplate. Gadsden’s venomous remix, for a flag used by Continental sailors, depicted the reassembled rattler as a righteous threat to trampling imperialism. “The origins of ‘Don’t Tread On Me,”’ Leepson summarizes, “were completely, one hundred percent anti-British, and pro-revolution.” Indeed, that E.E.O.C. directive agrees, “It is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context.”

It is common for Pratt to be a target of the Left and mainstream media, however. In December 2018, for example, the actor was smeared as “problematic” by TV Guide for his “offscreen life.” “When you take a deeper look at Pratt the man and not necessarily Pratt the actor, some of the shine wears off,” whined TV Guide. “Although he can be as funny offscreen as he is on — his recurring ‘What’s My Snack’ videos on Instagram are almost always delightful — it’s impossible to ignore some problematic aspects of his life offscreen.” In short, the outlet was upset that Pratt — a pro-hunting open Christian — is associated with the Right politically.