A student at UC Riverside was filmed after allegedly stealing a “Make America Great Again” hat demanding that the wearer be punished.
The video has received over 2.5 million views on Facebook since it was posted on Thursday afternoon. The owner of the hat, Matthew Vitale, states he is half-Nicaraguan in the video, but the female student holding his hat accuses him of turning a blind eye to “micro-aggressions against people of color” and supporting “laws and legislation that literally kill and murder in the masses, people of color.”
Vitale says he never met the other student prior to the altercation. He says he was shocked when she removed the hat from his head considering that he has worn it on campus before without issue.
The alleged thief, Ethnic Studies major Edith Macias, accuses the student of endorsing “genocide” by owning the hat. “So this guy thought it would be a good idea to go into a conference wearing this f***ing hat,” the student says in the video. “Look at the kind of sh*t he’s wearing, You know what this represents? This represents genocide—genocide of a bunch of people.”
“Do you have any f***ing conscience?” she continues, before adding that “f***ing freedom of speech is genocide, homeboy.”
“I swear to God I could burn this sh*t. I swear to God I could burn this sh*t,” she adds.
“Are you people not going to do anything? She is stealing my property,” Vitale says, as university staff looks on silently.
“We will need to return his property to him, but we can talk about…” one university employee eventually interjects.
“How about we talk about not letting him wear this sh*t on campus?” Macias says.
“The fact that you people haven’t gotten this back for me is sad and wrong,” Vitale says at one point.
“Oh my God, you’re going to keep letting him wear it?” Macias says. “That just shows how the f— UCR is and the education system. It’s geared to benefit white people, white people, not me.”
At the end of the video, Macias appears to be confronted by campus security.
Macias posted a video of herself appearing to snatch the hat to her Facebook. “Wearing a Make America Great Again cap at UCR… Youre making the decision to intentionally hurt people,” she wrote. “‘Make America Great Again’ coded ‘Continue the Genocide of POC’. You feel safe cuz you got the cops and politicians on your side. Youre not safe… just saying.”