Following backlash on social media, Amazon has removed a product with offensive messaging that appeared on its marketplace.
Over the weekend, United Kingdom-based criminal and family law barrister Alexandra Wilson, who authored the memoir “In Black and White,” took to Twitter to share an image of a cap with the words “Black Lives Don’t Matter” printed on its front panels, as well as a link to the item. “This is not OK,” she wrote in all caps. “Why is this racist hat being sold on your site? Are there no checks in place? This is honestly embarrassing.”
THIS IS NOT OK.@amazon why is this racist hat being sold on your site?
— Alexandra Wilson (@EssexBarrister) September 19, 2020
The cap, which was sold by a third-party vendor for 12.96 pounds (or about $16.50 at current exchange), is no longer on Amazon’s website. In a statement to FN, a spokesperson for the company wrote, “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The product in question is no longer available.”
Last month, Amazon took down a pair of shoes that was described with the N-word on its marketplace by a third-party vendor. British Parliament Labour MP David Lammy posted about the product on his Twitter page and urged the retailer to remove the item from its website. “Just buying brown brogues tonight leads to this racist micro aggression [sic],” he wrote. “Is it 2020 or 1720?”
In early June, a group of Amazon employees accused the Seattle-headquartered retail and tech behemoth of hypocrisy after it posted a statement condemning racism and injustice against black people. The workers criticized the company for licensing its proprietary facial recognition software to police officers; according to some civil liberties groups and artificial intelligence experts, the software could potentially be used to target people of color, minorities and immigrants.
Days later, CEO Jeff Bezos made headlines for sharing on Instagram an exchange with a customer who asked him to change a banner on the company’s site from “Black Lives Matter” to “All Lives Matter.” In a statement, the billionaire exec wrote, “Black lives matter speaks to racism and the disproportionate risk that black people face in our law enforcement and justice system. I have a 20-year-old son, and I simply don’t worry that he might be choked to death while being detained one day. It’s not something I worry about. Black parents can’t say the same.”
In addition to posting the message of solidarity on its website, Amazon has pledged to donate $10 million to organizations committed to racial justice. It selected the NAACP, the ACLU Foundation, the Equal Justice Initiative, Black Lives Matter and the National Urban League, among other nonprofit organizations.