American man draws flak over photo of Nazi flags in Taipei betel nut shop

American photographer faces backlash over photo of Nazi flags in Taipei betel nut shop, plans to leave Taiwan for good

  8998
(Images from Instagram)

(Images from Instagram)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After an American photographer expressed his outrage on Instagram on Sunday (Jan. 6) over Nazi flags posted in betel nut shop in Taipei, he faced such a backlash from Taiwanese netizens that he is planning on leaving Taiwan for good.

While taking photos near Longshan Temple in Taipei's historic Wanhua Disrict on Saturday (Jan. 5), an American photographer identified by the first name "Nathan," happened upon a betel nut shop prominently displaying two large banners with the Nazi swastikas emblazoned on them.

On Sunday, Nathan posted a photo of the shop on his Instagram page and started by writing, "Oh Taiwan... you never fail to disappoint me. Seriously though, WHAT THE F***??" He explains that he was taking photographs in the Wanhua District when he noticed a betel nut shop that was "clearly and obviously showing two Nazi swastika flags."


Staff inside shop smiling at photographer. (Image from Instagram)

To counter the argument that commonly ensues about the shapes, angles, and directions of various swastikas used throughout human history, he writes, "And no, those are NOT the swastikas used for Buddhism." He then lists the exact address of the shop in the district's Heping West Road.

Nathan closes by saying:

"This isn't the first time something like this has happened here in Taiwan. Apparently, Taiwan still didn't get the memo about what has happened in past history. Absolute cluelessness."

When asked by an Apple Daily reporter why he posted the Nazi flags in his store, the owner said, "The Nazi flag is a work of art, there is not political intent." The owner said that he had no plans of taking the flags down.


Screen capture of Nathan's Instagram post.

After the news first broke on Jan. 6, many Taiwanese netizens wrote comments on Nathan's Instagram page in defense of the store owner:

"None of your f***ing business. Telling others what flag they can and cannot hang in their home. If Taiwan disappoints you, please hurry up and go back to America."

"White trash, I love America, but hate you."


Original photo taken by Nathan. (Image from Instagram)

In response, Nathan wrote on Instagram that he would leave Taiwan, and he told Taiwan News that he was aware of his right to take legal action against the trolls who insulted him on social media.

In addition to photography, Nathan said worked as an English teacher in Taiwan for two and a half years. Nathan said that, although he often faces negative stereotypes, he told Taiwan News that he still feels that most Taiwanese are friendly.

However, he said that this incident has made him feel that "it's time to leave [Taiwan]," and he hopes that he will not come back. He also said that he has switched his Instagram account to private.


Staff member flashing V sign at photographer. (Image from Instagram)

Regarding his decision to leave Taiwan, Nathan told Taiwan News the following:

"I made the decision to leave a couple months ago as I no longer enjoy teaching English or enjoy living here. Moving on to new chapters in my life."

Nathan added that the incident and negative backlash he received from it has solidified his reasons for leaving. Though he conceded that America is not perfect, "at least it's my home and culture."


(Photo by Forumosa user Mad_Masala)