Jeff Bezos is rich. Really rich. And a slice of his fortune comes from Amazon taking a cut of sales from Nazi merchandise. A study by ACRE, the Action Center on Race and the Economy, and the Partnership for Working Families, has revealed that Amazon allows a wide range of white supremacist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic merchandise and books.
Worst of all, the study found that Amazon tends to wait until people complain to take the items down from the site, even though products fueled by hateful ideologies are supposedly not allowed on the Amazon Marketplace.
Some of the shocking merchandise that the study found for sale on Amazon include: swastika necklaces, a “costume” of a black man being lynched, a Nazi replica hat, and even baby clothes with burning crosses, in reference to the Ku Klux Klan. There are even kids books for sale by the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell. Not to mention all of the Pepe the Frog merchandise, which is a popular symbol for the neo-Nazis, reported the Daily Beast.
In addition, the study also revealed that Confederate flag merchandise is still being sold, even though in 2015, Amazon said they would remove all such items after the church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
And Amazon’s Kindle, one of the largest publishers of e-Books, is home to a white nationalist publishing house called Counter-Currents Publishing. They have over 50 books for sale. Amazon’s self-publishing service CreateSpace is also not free of hateful propaganda either, with white supremacist literature littering the space with books that spread misinformation. And it doesn’t end there. Hate music is also sold on Amazon Digital Music, detailed the L.A. Times.
These incredibly offensive items were allowed to be bought and sold on Amazon, even though there are supposedly held against Marketplace guidelines which forbid “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
After the study was published, Amazon reportedly took some listings down, while others still remained on their site.
However, the study also found that “Amazon has been reactive, not proactive, in its response to use of its site by peddlers of hate. Amazon has a history of responding slowly — or not at all — to public pressure on this front rather than effectively preventing hate groups from using its platforms in the first place.” In other words, Amazon allows anyone to sell whatever they want — until someone complains.
The study highlights not only Amazon’s lack of responsibility when enforcing its own Marketplace rules, but also the dangers for unwitting parents that go online to buy their kids shirts, backpacks, and more. The research director of ACRE summed it up when she said that a parent could unknowingly buy a backpack laden with Nazi-symbols for their child, “and your kid goes to school carrying this hate symbol on her back.”