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In the latest of several similar controversies, a new report released on Friday finds that Amazon continues to facilitate the sale of hateful merchandise, including Nazi paraphernalia.
The report was published by two advocacy groups, the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy, and found, among other examples of items sold on Amazon’s platform, a swastika pendant, stickers with Nazi imagery, and a German SS hat. While it’s unclear how much of the merchandise was actually sold, the report notes disturbing examples of items apparently targeted toward children, like a Nazi-themed Pepe the Frog fidget spinner and a child’s onesie with a burning cross.
In 2015, during a public outcry over the display of the Confederate flag following the mass shooting of black church attendees in Charleston, South Carolina, Amazon said it would no longer allow sales of merchandise with the flag. But the report found instances where the flag appeared regardless, including on a T-shirt and patch. The report said the items were found in June, and while not all of them appeared in a search Friday afternoon, some of the listings cited in the report were still available at that time, before also being pulled.
The report also noted instances where hate groups sold Kindle e-books, and said streaming music from hate groups was available on Amazon’s platform.
“Third party sellers who use our Marketplace service must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
But for years, Amazon has faced accusations that it hasn’t worked fast enough. At least as far back as 2012, journalists were pointing to merchandise like Nazi flags on Amazon. The controversies have continued in recent years, despite a company policy that bans “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
“In a moment when hate groups and racist violence are on the rise, Amazon’s failure to effectively block hate organizations from the use of its platforms to spread violent ideologies is a dangerous choice,” the report concludes.
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