Shoppers can purchase Amazon.com merchandise displaying symbols of white supremacy, such as a swastika necklace, a baby onesie with a burning cross, and a child’s backpack featuring a neo-Nazi meme, all in contradiction of the retail giant’s policy against selling products that promote hatred, said a new report from two watchdog groups.
Amazon’s policy says that “prohibited listings” on its website include “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.” But the report, released Friday by the Action Center on Race & the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families, argues that Amazon is failing to adhere to its own policy by allowing the sale of dozens of products in its online store, as well as its publishing and music platforms that facilitate the spread of racist ideology.
The two groups are national nonprofits that say they are focused on advancing racial and economic justice.
“It’s clear that Amazon is bringing in money by propping up these hate organizations and allowing them to spread these messages in a moment of rising white nationalism and violence,” said Mariah Montgomery, campaign director for the Partnership for Working Families.
Montgomery said Amazon should use its vast resources to curtail the dissemination of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and anti-Islam ideology “rather than seek to profit off hate.”
An Amazon spokesman said the company is in the process of removing some of the identified neo-Nazi bands from its music 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,” said Aaron Toso, an Amazon spokesman.
Among their most insidious findings, researchers said, are propaganda-emblazoned toys, books and other products targeting children.
One children’s book by George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, earned this five-star Amazon review: “Awesome work from a great man! This is great work for kids that are being brought up right! This is a great piece of Propaganda; it teaches our children to be careful and don’t let refugees in to your country.”
In addition to various Pepe the Frog-themed clothing and accessories — many explicitly referencing the neo-Nazi-appropriated meme of the cartoon frog — Amazon sold a fidget spinner that displayed the frog with a swastika across its belly. (That product was recently removed.)
“Hate movements really rely on symbolism to carry their ideologies and signal their belief systems to other members of their tribe,” said Carrie Sloan, research director for the Action Center.