As hate groups proliferate across the country, Amazon is under fire for allowing White supremacists to peddle their content on its online retail platform. Today (July 17), activists staged #PrimeDayofAction, a protest that coincides with yesterday’s Amazon Prime Day, to demand the retail giant remove and stop profiting from hateful paraphernalia.
The actions come on the heals of a report released this month, “Delivering Hate,” that says the Seattle-based company’s “inadequate and poorly enforced policies” have made the sale of these items on its website possible. While Amazon has a policy against “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance,” the report states that the billion-dollar company addresses violent content only in response to public outcry, but has yet to institute procedures to actively combat hate.
The report, created by the Action Center on Race and the Economy and Partnership for Working Families, details the many products available for purchase on Amazon from groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as hate organizations. Some of the items include noose costumes, Confederate flag imagery, hatecore music, White supremacist e-books, Swastika accessories, Pepe the Frog toys, racist baby onesies and Nazi-themed action figures.
In the last three quarters of 2017, Amazon, which has also faced scrutiny over harsh labor conditions, earned $1.9 billion in revenue. This year, CEO Jeff Bezo’s wealth skyrocketed to $150 billion. And much of that wealth is attributed to its dominance in several web-based industries, including e-books. Per the report, Amazon makes up 83 percent of the e-book business, and receives anywhere from 30 to 65 percent of revenues from its Kindle store—which hosts more than 100 White supremacist titles.
“Amazon must take a public stand against this hate and violence, and take action to ensure that it is not profting from hate or enabling others to proft from hate,” the report reads. “Across its platforms, Amazon has the right to determine what it sells, publishes and helps to deliver online. As a wealthy corporation, it has the resources to ensure its policies are enforced.”
Since the report was released, Amazon has rebutted criticisms of its company’s policies. “Third party sellers who use our Marketplace service must follow our guidelines,” an Amazon spokesperson told Colorlines in an emailed statement. “Those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account.”
Along with organizing the actions, several advocacy organizations released a petition calling on Amazon to stop conducting business with hate groups. In a letter addressed to Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s board of directors, advocates list several demands:
- Take a clear public stand against hate movements and their ideologies and publicly pledge not to profit from hate.
- Develop more robust policies for all of its platforms in consultation with experts who study hate movements and symbols, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Develop and resource transparent enforcement mechanisms to ensure that Amazon and its users and clients are adhering to its policies.
- Stop letting its platform be used to sell items featuring hate symbols.
- Destroy any merchandise displaying hate symbols currently in Amazon-controlled warehouses and distribution centers.
- Stop facilitating the publication and distribution of hate movement propaganda.
Activists and advocacy groups have organized protests in cities around the country.
Today, we are submitting a letter to @Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling for change. #PrimeDayofAction Amazon must take a public stand against hate and violence and take action to ensure that it is not profiting from hate or enabling others to profit from hate. #PrimedForHate pic.twitter.com/1fJIxMtB5G— Make the Road NY (@MaketheRoadNY) July 17, 2018
This is an actual item for sale on Amazon. How is it ok for the largest platform In the world to profit from and facilitate the sale of noose symbols & other white supremacist and nazi paraphernalia? Here with @RWDSU @MaketheRoadNY to say NO. #primedforhate #primedayofaction pic.twitter.com/JZhUKTNbYG— deborah axt (@DebAxt) July 17, 2018
I bought zero things on #PrimeDay2018. Why? Because @amazon supports white supremacist blog Breitbart. And the NRA. And carries Nazi merchandise. I’d rather skip the cardboard waste and shop at my local @Target, which has ethics. Fix your shit, @JeffBezos.#PrimedforHate— Accio Coze (@AccioCoze) July 17, 2018
New report by @P4WF and @acrecampaigns finds racist toys and hateful propaganda aimed at children available on #Amazon. Read the report and take action! #primedforhate #amazondelivershate https://t.co/bby8zjzLXV pic.twitter.com/ipPEiPwlhl— NY Communities (@nychange) July 8, 2018
It’s @amazon’s #PrimeDay. But members of hate groups can still buy white supremacist products from the site, even though they were banned in 2015. Sign the petition to tell Amazon to stop profiting off racism. #primedforhate #amazondelivershate https://t.co/QNHT8SWwro— RWDSU (@RWDSU) July 16, 2018
We are about to deliver 40K petitions to demand @Amazon to get rid of these hateful items and stop granting a space for white supremacist groups @ColorOfChange @MaketheRoadAct @ALIGNny @RWDSU #AmazonPrimeDayOfAction #amazondelivershate #PrimedForHate pic.twitter.com/EeCEizAwYp— NY Communities (@nychange) July 17, 2018
Should we be able to find Neo-Nazi toys for kids in the “everything store”? This #primeday, join us in telling #Amazon to stop profiting from racism and hate: https://t.co/epDRtW3bT7 #primedayofaction #amazondelivershate #HQ2 #PrimeDay2018— Philadelphia JwJ (@PhillyJwJ) July 17, 2018
Protesters will be at Whole Foods today, demanding that Amazon take responsibility for what happens on its platform, and the products it profits from. https://t.co/K2xSx3Jk1b— Stacy Mitchell (@stacyfmitchell) July 17, 2018
This #PrimeDay, it’s time for CEOs like Jeff Bezos to pay a fair share to their workers. Join @SenSanders, #FightFor15 worker @Adriana_4812 and workers from Amazon, Walmart, and more. Tonight at 7pm on Facebook Live: https://t.co/J90HbIgKgX pic.twitter.com/Ieu1Wuvi2S— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) July 16, 2018
*Post has been updated to include a statement from Amazon.