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Due to backlash over a Facebook photo of County Councilman Mike Covert wearing a controversial red, white and blue bow tie, the company that sells the tie has taken it off the market.
On June 6, two days after the Island Packet wrote about the similarities between Covert’s “patriotic” tie and the Confederate Battle flag, the website where Covert said he purchased the bow tie removed it from the site, bowties.com, according to a statement from Randall Hanauer, president of R. Hanauer Inc.
“We were surprised and concerned when alerted to the speculation about our Americana bow tie as its meaning is solely patriotic. Because our respect and sensitivity for our fellow Americans is as strong as our patriotism, we have decided to remove the bow tie from our website,” the statement said.
The 2017 Facebook photo of Covert — featuring the 2020 Congressional hopeful in a red bow tie with blue lines and white stars — gained traction on social media after Beaufort County resident Dawn Lucas Pemberton shared it again on June 3. Several Facebook users pointed out the similarities between the tie and the Rebel banner.
After negative response to the photo, Covert said he was offended that people would think he would wear a Confederate flag bow tie.
“Everyone that has those comments — from what my team is telling me — they’re all anti-2nd Amendment, anti-pro life, anti-Trump. That’s their opinion. If that’s what people have to use to get themselves all wound up, so be it. The more they do that, the more publicity I get,” Covert said.
Asked about the meaning behind the tie, Covert said the bow tie was red, white and blue “Americana”-themed for the Fourth of July. He said he would not wear Confederate flag apparel.
When the photo of Covert first resurfaced, there were several websites selling similar-looking bow ties. Covert said he bought his from Hanauer’s Bowties.com — which sold a “Red, White & Blue Americana Bow Tie” for $55. The bow tie also looked similar to the “Red Silk Stars and Bars Rebel Bow Tie CSA” sold on Zeckos.com. Amazon lists the Zeckos bow tie on its website, but it is currently unavailable to purchase.
Located just south of Charlotte in South Mill, R. Hanauer is operated by Randy Hanauer and his son Randall. The father-son business focuses primarily on selling pocket squares, bow ties and cummerbunds.
Covert said he saw no reason to stop wearing the bow tie.