Amazon has dropped some Nazi and neo-Nazi sales items after angry complaints from a leading international Jewish organization.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center sharply criticized Amazon in a statement on its website Thursday for “making money off Nazi and neo-Nazi paraphernalia” — saying it demanded in an email to the company that it ” remove these items immediately”.
“At a time when 63% of all religion-based hate crimes in America target American Jews – 2.4% of the American population – at a time when blacks are once again the top target of race-based hate crimes, Amazon should not should leverage 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 with Nazi symbols or a suggestion thereof.
Amazon said in a statement to The New York Post that it uses “proactive mechanisms” to “intercept offensive listings before a customer ever sees them. Our technology continuously scans all products for sale looking for text and images that we have determined to violate our policies, and will remove them immediately.”
Company officials also noted that the “realm of potentially offensive products is nuanced and diverse” and that the number of products offered on the site is staggering.
While Amazon removed some items, similar products were still for sale, Gizmodo reported Friday. Cooper then told Gizmodo that Amazon should respond to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He said he’s angry that the company can’t be proactive in curbing hate on the site.
“It’s just not acceptable for the biggest economic giant around to play Wack-a-mole games instead of fixing things,” Cooper told Gizmodo.
Amazon has a policy against offensive and controversial material. It bans products that promote intolerance of race, religion or sexual orientation.
In a similar controversy, Walmart stopped selling “KKK” marked boots online last week. Walmart removed an online listing for hiking boots with a red “KKK” on the tongue, telling Business Insider it would look into how the “inappropriate merchandise” got on its platform in the first place.
It is not the first time Amazon has run into problems with anti-Semitic products.
A year ago, the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos demanding that Amazon remove more than 20 Nazi propaganda films that were for sale on Amazon’s online portal or available for streaming on the Amazon Prime video network.