- Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- Amazon has removed a host of products with Nazi insignia from its site after complaints from a Democratic congressman.
- Rep. Keith Ellison wrote an open letter to Amazon in July condemning its sale of “hateful literature, toys, and music.”
- Researchers earlier this year found that Amazon was selling Nazi paraphernalia such as a swastika pendant, a baby onesie featuring a burning cross, and items branded with the Confederate flag.
- The company said in a letter that it had halted the sale of the products but was still removing them from its warehouses.
Amazon said in a letter to Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison that it had removed a host of Nazi and white supremacist products from its site.
Ellison sent an open letter to Amazon last month after a research paper written by The Action Center on Race & the Economy and Partnership for Working Families found a range of products including garments, children’s toys, and even fidget spinners emblazoned with neo-Nazi insignia. “I am disturbed that such a powerful corporation is materially fueling the rise of hate groups in our country,” Ellison wrote.
- Amazon via ARCE Action Center
The researchers found items such as a baby onesie featuring a burning cross, a swastika pendant, and items branded with the Confederate flag.
This morning I sent Jeff Bezos a letter asking why Amazon is selling content and products that promote and enrich white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. https://t.co/vZxvSoRunr pic.twitter.com/kSAroJTBnN
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) July 17, 2018
Amazon’s vice president for public policy, Brian Huseman, responded to Ellison in a letter on Thursday. “Since receiving your letter, we have reviewed the products and content referenced in your letter, and removed the listings that were found in violation of our policies and permanently blocked the seller accounts that were in violation of Amazon policy,” he wrote.
“We are also reviewing the seller accounts for potential suspension,” Huseman added.
It is not clear how the accounts have been both permanently blocked as well as submitted for review for suspension.
Amazon, like other tech firms, says it relies on machine learning to flag or automatically remove problematic products.
“These automated tools are supplemented by teams of investigators that conduct manual, human review of our listings on a regular basis,” Huseman wrote.
He added that Amazon was still removing the offending items from its warehouses.
“Sellers are expected to comply with our policies, and we immediately investigate any reported violations,” an Amazon spokesman told Business Insider. “The items referenced by Representative Ellison were previously reviewed, and we removed those that violated our policies well before we received his letter.”