A conservative media watchdog found products promoting hate or violence being sold on Amazon. The Media Research Center (MRC) found more than 200 items promoting violence against President Donald Trump, Republicans and law enforcement officers. A black shirt with the slogan “Kill All Republicans” printed in front – which was even a sponsored listing on the online shopping platform – was part of the MRC’s discoveries.
The MRC found that Amazon carried other shirts with violent messages on them. One T-shirt had the slogan “Hospitalize Your Local Fascist,” with a knife with a drop of blood being part of its design. Another shirt featured a guillotine as its main design, with an expletive printed on it. Meanwhile, another vendor sold shirts encouraging violence against trans-exclusionary radical feminists and members of the alt-right.
Other items showed the president being harmed or killed. One flag showed Trump shooting himself in a gory manner, with the words “Municipal Waste” on top of the graphic. A steak knife rack designed like Trump’s head was advertised as “the perfect gift.”
MRC also found that Amazon carried merchandise with anti-police slogans and graphics. More than 130 products had the slogan ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), which was a popular phrase used in Antifa circles. One such item was a sticker of a cat throwing a Molotov cocktail – with ACAB written on the improvised bomb. A refrigerator magnet had a dead pig’s head on top of a trench knife: The pig head wore a police cap.
Aside from these anti-police merchandise, Amazon also carried riot gear such as tasers, brass knuckles and stun sticks. Antifa rioters used these items against police officers during Black Lives Matter riots last year.
BBC reported on Jan. 11 that the Big Tech firm banned free speech platform Parler from hosting its site on Amazon Web Services. The technology giant accused Parler of refusing to remove “content that encourages or incites violence against others.” Amazon added that it had found 98 posts containing “violent content” on the website.
In response, Parler sued Amazon over the Big Tech firm’s “de-platforming.” Parler accused the Jeff Bezos-helmed company of engaging in antitrust violations and interfering with the social media platform’s business relationship with its users. The suit also alleged that Amazon breached its contract by not providing a 30-day notice before terminating Parler’s hosting contract. (Related: Fighting back: Parler, Rumble file suits against Amazon and Google respectively.)
Prior to banning Parler from Amazon Web Services, Amazon removed products featuring the QAnon movement from its marketplace platform. An NBC News report said the technology firm warned vendors who sold products that “promote, incite or glorify hate and violence toward any person or group” that they could be banned from selling there.
Ironically, Amazon itself carries merchandise featuring violent content and hate speech based on MRC’s findings. Items that call for the death of Republicans and the president remain on the platform.
According to the Amazon Terms of Service, “products that promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views” are prohibited. The terms of service also outlines specific categories for prohibited products, including those targeted “[toward] any person or group” and those containing “violent or offensive material that has no historical significance.”
In addition, the platform’s guidelines for sponsored products prohibit content “that advocates for or against a politician or a political party, or that personally attacks a political figure.” Based on these guidelines, the merchandise calling for the death of Republicans and Trump should have been banned.
MRC said the terms of service do not apply to media such as music, books, television or movies. However, Amazon has been found to censor a number of books that go against the narrative.
In August 2020, the platform banned a book criticizing Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rebel News founder Ezra Levant, the book’s author, said his work is “purely a discussion of Canada-China politics.” Amazon initially refused to list it on its marketplace, but eventually relented.
Months later, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson called out Amazon for banning his book that criticized mask-wearing mandates. Both the print and digital version of Berenson’s book were blocked from the e-commerce platform. The tech giant eventually reinstated the book after Berenson called it out on social media.