State News

State senator fires back at UW student clothing line

Eneale Pickett holds a beheaded police officer while promoting his new clothing line that focuses on police brutality in America.

State Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, called for local law enforcement to take action against UW-Madison student Eneale Pickett, who released a video earlier this week promoting his clothing line that Nass says is racist and anti-police.

Pickett owns a clothing line called Insert Apparel, which he says is meant to initiate conversations about social justice by printing controversial messages on clothing.

His newest line is centered on police brutality against black Americans. The line is set to be released on Friday. Pickett also previewed a video earlier this week promoting the clothing line ahead of schedule.

The video depicts a scene where cops dressed in pig masks lynch a black man while a woman, dressed in an American flag to represent justice, watches and laughs. Near the end of the video, the two cops run away from a black man, who is dragging a sledgehammer behind him.

It closes with a shot of a man holding one of the cop’s detached heads, representing the death and decapitation of the police officer.

The video was initially posted to UW-Madison Box, an internal dropbox designed for assignments. The link to the video has since been removed.

UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said the video was posted on the platform in violation of the university's IT policies around commercial activities.

“The university strongly condemns the glorification of violence such as that contained in the promotion of a student-produced clothing line,” Lucas said. “We support our police partners, reject violence and violent imagery as tactics to achieve political objectives.

Pickett denied a request for comment.

Nass decried the video, stating it was racist with the intent to spark violence against police officers. He called upon local police and the state Department of Justice to open an investigation. 

Wisconsin's attorney general Brad Schimel weighed in Thursday, stating that he is concerned for the safety of police officers but acknowledged Pickett was exercising his First Amendment right. 

“This can’t be condoned or ignored. UW-Madison must act swiftly and decisively against anyone on their campus who promotes hateful actions of this type,” Nass said in a press release. 

Lucas added that Pickett is engaged in a private business activity that is not endorsed by UW-Madison and is unrelated to his status as a UW-Madison student.

Last year Nass threatened state funding unless the university discontinued a class titled “The Problem with Whiteness” and fire the professor who taught it.

Nass has also accused UW-Madison of attacking men and masculinity by offering a six-week program called the “Men’s Project,” which explores masculinity and the problems it may cause.

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