Two non-profits are criticizing Amazon for allowing its platforms to spread white supremacy and racism, identifying in a report how shoppers can buy onesies for babies stamped with alt-right images, Nazi-themed action figures and anti-Semitic books and music.
The report, which was released Friday by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy, said Amazon’s policies allow it to bar hateful or offensive merchandise and content, but the policies are “weak and inadequately enforced” and allow hate groups to “generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements.”
The report outlines a number of items available as of June, including a costume that makes it look as if wearers have marks around their neck from being hanged from a noose, and onesies for babies that include images of a burning cross emblazoned across the front and Pepe the Frog.
The report identified dozens of e-books being sold in Amazon Kindle formats that were published by groups labelled “hate organizations” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups.
It also criticized Amazon’s CloudFront content delivery network for “facilitating the publication and distribution of digital media” associated with Islamophobia.
As of Sunday afternoon, Amazon appeared to have removed many of the items identified in the report but others, such as a sword with Nazi symbols, remained.
In the report, the organizations asked Amazon to develop better policies for policing its platforms, to destroy hateful merchandise in its warehouses and to stop allowing such goods and content to be distributed through its services.
An Amazon spokesman said in a statement Sunday that third-party sellers that use its marketplace service “must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account.”
Amazon did not answer questions about what specific items it had removed or what measures it was taking to vet other merchandise. The Washington Post reported that the company was working to remove neo-Nazi bands from its music platform.
Amazon reported a net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018, more than double the amount for the same period in 2017.