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MGM to redesign uniforms after woman notices resemblance to Holocaust imagery

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 17:33:03-04

NORTHFIELD, Ohio — MGM Resorts International will re-design the uniforms worn by the company’s security staff after a Mayfield Heights woman raised concerns about the uniform’s resemblance to the Yellow Star – the badge Nazis required Jews across Europe to wear leading up to and during the Holocaust.

June Scharf said she was with a group of friends attending a show at MGM Northfield Park earlier this month when she was struck by the imagery emblazoned on the casino’s security staff. On the left side of the security guards’ uniforms is a six-point star with the MGM logo in the middle. The polos that MGM security guards wear are yellow.

“The star set against a yellow background on the uniform has a whole different meaning,” Scharf said. “[The Yellow Star] was my immediate thought, the connection I made.”

Shortly after Nazi Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, local German authorities began requiring Jews to wear yellow badges depicting the Star of David, which contained ‘Jew’ in the middle. The Nazis mandated the wearing of the Yellow Star in several of the countries Germany invaded, including the Soviet Union. The policy of forcing Jews to wear the badges was one of many psychological tactics to dehumanize European Jews. As many as 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Scharf, who is Jewish, said the star on the security uniforms being so closely similar to the Yellow Star made her immediately think of her family members who were killed during the Holocaust.

“You know, the Holocaust was a long time ago but it casts a long shadow. For those of us that had family affected by it, we’re not going to forget,” Scharf said. “A six-pointed star is the Star of David but it is also other things. Sheriffs use it. That’s fine. It was mostly a combination of the yellow and the star. I gave it some thought about what I’d like to do and the thought didn’t go away about it. I thought somebody just needs to know.”

Scharf said she tried contacting MGM Resorts International directly. However, after several unanswered phone calls, Scharf opted to contact Cleveland Jewish News, a local publication. CJN then reached out to media relations officials at MGM who later promised a re-design of the security uniforms.

“We appreciate this being brought to our attention and will begin the process of changing the badges on the uniforms in question,” an MGM spokesperson said in an email. “We regret anyone was offended – it was certainly not our intention. We are committed to ensuring that everyone feels welcome on our properties. Diversity and inclusion is at the core of our company’s values.”

The spokesperson refused to answer any additional questions, including when the uniforms will be re-designed. As of Thursday, the security staff at MGM Northfield Park were still wearing the uniforms.

Scharf said she doesn’t believe that the imagery on the uniforms was intentional and is pleased to see MGM take action.

“I think in the business of casinos and appealing to the broadest range of people I don’t think you’d want to do something like that intentionally… I can’t imagine this was intentional,” Scharf said. “If you didn’t know something you can learn it and become aware. I think that’s part of that learning process for some people.”

Two of MGM’s namesakes, Louis Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn, were both Jewish.