National

He was mistaken for a neo-Nazi and stabbed — and thinks his haircut is to blame, he says

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

Witt’s current haircut, according to a recent Facebook profile picture.
Witt’s current haircut, according to a recent Facebook profile picture. Screen capture

A Colorado man was stabbed by a stranger who allegedly thought he was a neo-Nazi, despite the fact that he claims to have no associations with any white supremacist or Nazi movements.

Joshua Witt posted about the incident on Facebook on Wednesday, including photos of his bloody hand, wound and car. In the post, he wrote that “apparently I look like a neo-nazi and got stabbed for it ... luckily I put my hands up to stop it so he only stabbed my hand.... please keep in mind there was no conversation between me and this dude I was literally just getting out of my car.”

BuzzFeed News reports that Witt says he went to a Steak N’ Shake on Wednesday afternoon in Sheridan, Colorado. As he was getting out of his car, Witt said he heard someone ask, “You one of them neo-Nazis?” As he turned out, Witt says a man swung a knife at him over his car door.

Witt told the New York Post he raised his hands to protect himself, and the knife struck him near the base of his thumb.

“The dude was actually aiming for my head,” he claimed.

Witt then got back in his car and closed the door, while his assailant allegedly fled on foot. Witt ended up needing stitches, and police confirmed to BuzzFeed that they are investigating the stabbing, though Witt told the outlet that police said they could not identify the man based off surveillance footage.

Per the New York Post and Buzzfeed, Witt says he does not have any tattoos or symbols on his body that would suggest an affiliation with Nazis. However, some friends have suggested, and Witt believes, that his haircut — cropped closely on the sides and longer on top —may have been interpreted as a signal of white supremacist beliefs.

Indeed, Richard Spencer, one of the leaders of the so-called alt-right, sports a similar hairstyle, and even rapper Macklemore, who once had a similar haircut, has gotten rid of it over its perceived connections to racism.

The origins of the haircut date back to Hitler’s Nazi Youth, who often wore their hair in a similar style, per the Washington Post. However, the style became trendy again among men in the early to mid-2010s, with celebrities such as David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake all sporting it.

Still, Witt believes that the man who attacked him took his haircut for a “neo-Nazi statement,” he told Raw Story. He also said he has received several death threats since posting about the incident on Facebook and is considering changing his look.

However, Witt is not the only person to ever have been connected to white supremacist movements because of his hair. Comedian Samantha Bee drew criticism in March after airing a comedy segment about the Conservative Political Action Conference in which various attendees with the same haircut were described as having “Nazi hair.”

One of the people featured soon came forward, saying that his haircut was the result of brain cancer treatments. Bee and her show apologized and donated $1,000 towards the man’s medical expenses.

More recently, however, political and racial tensions have increased in the wake of a violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a young woman was killed when a white supremacist allegedly rammed his car into a crowd of people counter-protesters marching against neo-Nazis and other groups gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally.

President Donald Trump has come under fire politically after he initially blamed the violence on “both sides,” then condemned racists and neo-Nazis, then walked back that apology soon after by saying there were “fine people” alongside the white supremacists in Charlottesville.

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