Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will not facilitate the sale of merchandise branded with the phrases “Stand Back” and/or “Stand By,” words used by President Donald Trump during Tuesday’s debate that some consider a dog whistle to white supremacist terrorist groups. As CBS News reported, other retailers are following suit.
On Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked the president if he would be willing to condemn white supremacy. Wallace specifically mentioned by name the Proud Boys, a far-right group that, among others, has been accused of contributing to violence at protests in Portland and other cities.
Trump then responded to the moderator, as CBS News reported.
“The Proud Boys. Stand back and stand by,” he said, while claiming that such violence is not a “right-wing problem.”
Members of the group appear to have taken that message to heart, as within hours, they were repeating the phrase on their Telegram channel and posting videos from the debate with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood.”
Merchandise branded with the phrase then started turning up on Amazon, as can be seen in the tweet below.
Proud Boy merch featuring the "Stand Back – Stand By" verbiage is now available on @amazon
— Konstantin Toropin (@KToropin) September 30, 2020
The retailer has since pulled the plug not only on merchandise branded with that phrase, but also anything referencing the Proud Boys or their logo.
“All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question have been removed,” said an Amazon spokesperson, referencing a policy that bans “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
Proud Boys-branded garments also began turning up on the website Teespring, as can be seen in the tweet below.
Here we go again, @teespring.
Last week, you were selling shirts glorifying the Kenosha shooter and now you’re selling Proud Boys tees?
Why can you not stay on top of this? pic.twitter.com/TBbYXa555m
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) September 30, 2020
However, by Thursday, the company had announced that the sale of such merchandise will no longer be tolerated.
“We have no interest in profiting off hate or violence, and in this case we immediately removed the designs as they violate our policies,” the company said.
Shirts, buttons, stickers, and other items featuring the “stand by” phrase or variations thereof remain available on eBay, as of early Thursday afternoon. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As for the controversial phrase, Donald Trump Jr. suggested that the president only meant to call on the Proud Boys to “stand down,” and suggested “stand by” might have been said in error.