GREENPOINT, N.Y. (PIX11)—A small Brooklyn jewelry store is in the middle of a big controversy over a pair of earrings. The earrings look like swastikas.
When Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint) found out the Manhattan Avenue store, Bejeweled, had been selling the jewelry, he was stunned. "I was very upset, very upset."
Workers at the Greenpoint store have repeatedly tried to point out the earrings are not Nazi swastikas but actually a reversed symbol used by Tibetan Buddists. But Levin said that doesn't really matter. "The average New Yorker would see it as a symbol of hate."
When the owner Young Kim initially refused to talk to PIX11 on camera, she put us on the phone with a spokeswoman. The woman, who would not identify herself, was combative and unapologetic. When the question was asked, "Do you recognize why the Jewish community is upset?" She responded, "Because they don't know the difference. They are not careful and they don't know the difference."
When Levin convinced Young to speak to the media she spoke through a translator. "She respects, the store respects every culture, every religion, every belief. It wasn't a symbol of hate," said Chris Sung. The store sells a variety of religious jewelry, including Jewish stars and crosses.
Still, the store blames New Yorkers for not understanding the difference between the symbols. "You know without disrespecting people, it's ignorant," said Sung.
The store had one pair of the controversial earrings left Wednesday but they had already been pulled from the shelf. The owner, Young Kim, said they will be pulled permanently.