Amazon has dropped some Nazi and neo-Nazi sales items after angry complaints from a prominent international Jewish organization.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center sharply criticized Amazon in a statement on its website Thursday for “monetizing Nazi and neo-Nazi paraphernalia” — and said it demanded in an email to the company that it “remove these items immediately.”
“In an era when 63% of all religious-based hate crimes in America target America’s Jews — 2.4% of the US population — at a time when Blacks are again the number one target of race-based hate crimes, Amazon should not be using its business model to market hateful symbols and neo-Nazi paraphernalia,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the center, said in a statement.
The center provided screenshots of some of the products for sale, including a swastika necklace and bracelets, other jewelry, badges and pins featuring Nazi symbols or evocative of them.
Amazon said in a statement to The New York Post that it utilizes “proactive mechanisms” to “catch offensive listings before a customer ever sees them. Our technology continuously scans all products listed for sale looking for text and images that we have determined violate our policies, and immediately removes them.”
Company officials also noted that the “realm of potentially offensive products is nuanced and diverse” and the number of products offered on the site massive.
Though Amazon has removed a number of the items, similar products were still being offered for sale, Gizmodo reported Friday. Cooper told Gizmodo then that Amazon had to respond to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He said he’s angry the company can’t be proactive in keeping hate off the site.
“It’s simply not acceptable for the biggest economic giant on the block to play games of Wack-a-mole rather than fix things,” Cooper told Gizmodo.
Amazon has a policy on offensive and controversial materials. It prohibits products that promote intolerance toward race, religion, or sexual orientation.
In a similar controversy, Walmart just last week stopped selling “KKK” marked boots online. Walmart deleted an online listing for hiking boots with a red “KKK” on the tongue, telling Business Insider it would review how the “inappropriate merchandise” got on its platform in the first place.
It’s not the first time Amazon has been in trouble for antisemitic products.
A year ago the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanding Amazon removed more than 20 Nazi propaganda films that were either on sale in Amazon’s online portal or available for streaming on its Amazon Prime video network.