Amazon has sparked the #BoycottAmazon hashtag after multiple listings were observed selling doormats with images of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Amazon recently listed a number of doormats with religious figures. The news about the listings spread like wildfire, and soon, the hashtag began trending. Many Amazon users in India reacted very strongly to images of deities on doormats and uninstalled the eCommerce platform’s mobile app from their smartphones. Twitter users who fueled the #BoycottAmazon hashtag were urging others to take action against the offensive products.
The doormats were listed by retailer Rock Bull. Incidentally, besides the images of Hindu gods, other variants of the products had images of Jesus and the Quran, as well. As a reaction, angry Indians took to social media to ask fellow users to boycott the app while others started to down-vote the app on the iOS App Store as well as Google’s Android Play Store. Many people posted screenshots of their phones on social media which showed the Amazon app being uninstalled, reported Being Indian.
It is unclear why the seller chose to imprint images of religious figures on doormats. Angry internet users also blame Amazon for not properly screening the products. However, many other users seemed to have sympathy for Amazon, insisting that the platform lists millions of products and is merely a “medium” that only offers a place for vendors to list their products, reported India Times. Despite the fact that Amazon stocks and ships products from its order fulfillment centers, which number by the hundreds, the company isn’t the manufacturer and technically can’t be held liable for any product that offends religious sentiments.
Amazon operates on a “marketplace” model, wherein different sellers can sell their products on the platform. Hence, it is originally the seller’s mistake to get doormats made with images of Hindu gods, as well as of Jesus and the Quran. Worryingly, these are listed as doormats, which clearly indicate the products will be trampled upon by anyone who is dumb or ignorant enough to procure them.
Surprisingly, Amazon’s guidelines that deal with “Offensive Products” clearly states, “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views” are prohibited.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Amazon has drawn the wrath of Indians for listing products with religious imagery. During the “leggings craze” in 2014, a third-party company named Yizzam began listing pairs that featured Hindu gods and goddesses. Back then, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, filed an official complaint with Amazon, asking the platform to remove the products.
The company had put up about 11 designs of leggings, each with a different god or goddess. The leggings were quite colorful, but the complainant stated, “Hindu gods and goddesses are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines, not to be worn around one’s legs, crotch, and hips,” reported the Observer. Following the backlash, Amazon quickly pulled all the listings down.
Quite recently, Amazon was once again amidst another controversy, but this time it was political. With the U.S. presidential race heating up, the platform has been flooding with products with strong, provocative, and seemingly borderline offensive products about GOP candidate Donald Trump. Many products which indirectly urge not to vote for Donald Trump are unofficially labeled as “Dump Trump” products. Petitioners have urged the platform to stop selling products that depict Trump.
Just like the leggings were quickly taken down in 2014, the doormats have begun disappearing from Amazon following the swift and intense backlash from the Hindu community. Surprisingly, there appears little to no outrage about other variants of doormats that have images of Jesus and the Quran on them.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]