Amazon removes racist items from e-commerce marketplace after backlash

Amazon removed these items after researchers identified them. (Images via Partnership for Working Families and ACRE)

Amazon has pulled items with Nazi and racist symbolism from its website after advocacy groups raised concerns about the content, according to multiple reports.

Earlier this month, The Action Center on Race & The Economy and Partnership for Working Families released a study identifying dozens of goods with Nazi and white nationalist imagery for sale on Amazon.com.

The report prompted Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to write a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking the company to remove the items. The letter also asked how much money Amazon has made off of the propaganda and how the company enforces its policies against objectionable content. Amazon forbids “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views” on its site.

Amazon responded this week with a letter from its public policy VP Brian Huseman, obtained by The New York Times. Amazon did not disclose how much money it had made on the items identified in the report but said they have been removed. Amazon also blocked the accounts selling the racist items, according to the Huseman letter.

“We have restricted the inventory to prevent it from being sold and are in the process of removing it from our fulfillment centers,” the letter says.

But a search on Amazon.com still reveals a number of items that promote a white supremacist agenda, such as George Lincoln Rockwell’s “White Power.” The seller describes the text as “the last and most powerful book written by the founder of the American Nazi Party.” Items with swastikas and Confederate flags are also available in the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon could not immediately be reached for comment. In Huseman’s letter, he says, “we closely monitor and respond to direct customer feedback and external party notices of product pages in violation of the law or our policies, and we undertake proactive measures to ensure policy compliance using sophisticated technology.”