Amazon 'Hate' Report Lumps Christian Literature in with KKK, Neo-Nazi Products
On Friday, two liberal organizations released a report blasting Amazon.com for breaking its own policies and selling hateful products online, including children's items branded with Ku Klux Klan symbols and Nazi images. Since the report relied on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s debunked "hate group" list, however, it also attacked Amazon for selling Christian gospel tracts.
In "Delivering Hate: How Amazon's Platforms Are Used to Spread White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia and How Amazon Can Stop It," the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) and the Partnership for Working Families (PWF) alleged that Amazon has provided a "number of channels through which hate groups can generate revenue, propagate their ideas, and grow their movements."
According to its policies, Amazon prohibits the sale of "products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views." The report found, however, that Amazon sold kids' backpacks with neo-Nazi symbols, a swastika necklace, baby onesies displaying a KKK-style burning cross, and more.
The report detailed products with swastikas and the Confederate Battle Flag of Northern Virginia — which the company banned in 2015. Other products that arguably violated the policy included a noose vehicle decal and images of Pepe the Frog, which the report attacked as the "newly adopted imagery of the modern white nationalist movement." The Anti-Defamation League marked Pepe the Frog a hate symbol in September 2016 (despite the fact that its creator does not want the image used to represent the alt-right).
To be fair to Amazon, it is important to note that many products have since been removed from the site. The Pepe the Frog fidget spinners, a flag mimicking the Nazi war flag, a German SS officer hat and sword, the baby onesies, and some Nazi figurines have been removed.
"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," Amazon said in a statement responding to the report.
Some of these symbols may be arguable, but most Americans would agree that nooses, burning crosses, and swastikas have a hateful meaning and Amazon should remove them. Even so, the ACRE and PWF report painted with far too broad a brush.
Like the SPLC's "hate group" list, which lumps in mainstream conservative and Christian groups with racist groups like the KKK, this report targeted a publishing outlet responsible for numerous Christian gospel tracts.
"Chick Publications, long identified as a hate group due to its 'militant, vitriolic propaganda war against anyone who doesn't adhere to its particular brand of Christianity,' has 85 Kindle titles available on Amazon, including titles that focus on conspiracy theories about Islam, debunking the Qur'an, and converting Muslims to Christianity," ACRE and PWF reported breathlessly.