Amazon says it has removed several products featuring hate symbols from its marketplace after a congressman asked the company about them, making headlines in outlets like The New York Times and Buzzfeed. However, some items featuring Confederate and Nazi symbols are still available for purchase.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in July expressing concern over a report from two advocacy groups that detailed how Amazon permitted the sale of hateful merchandise.
In a letter responding to Ellison dated Tuesday, Amazon said it had “reviewed the products and content referenced in your letter, and we have removed those listings, and permanently blocked the seller accounts found to be in violation of our policies.”
Amazon removed items including a lynching costume, a Nazi eagle sticker and a hangman’s noose decal, but it has not completely eliminated all the items the report and Ellison found offensive.
HuffPost identified several products featuring hateful symbols that Amazon did not remove, such as a hat for an officer of the Waffen SS, the armed wing of the Nazi Party, and a coin featuring a Nazi swastika.
Multiple Kekistan flags and other memorabilia are still up for sale, as well. The imaginary country is based on the alt-right’s “mascot,” Pepe the Frog. The flag “mimics a German Nazi war flag,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC has identified the Confederate flag, Kekistan and the swastika as hate symbols.
The report that Ellison cited also detailed how xenophobic groups used Amazon to dispel ideology through books and music, including The Fable of the Ducks and the Hens: A Dramatic Saga of Intrigue, Propaganda and Subversion. Amazon did not remove the seemingly innocent children’s book, which warns of the danger of allowing immigrants into one’s country. It was written by George Lincoln Rockwell, the American Nazi Party creator and “white power”-coiner.
When asked about items it did not remove, an Amazon spokeswoman said she would flag them for the monitors.
Amazon declined Ellison’s request to provide information on how much it has profited from sales of the controversial items. The company said it uses “sophisticated, automated tools” to identify and remove items that violate its policies and supplements the tools with human monitors.
The sale of “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views” are prohibited, according to Amazon. Sellers who don’t adhere to the rules face “swift action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
Ellison’s office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.