Amazon, the online retailer founded by liberal billionaire Jeff Bezos, has developed a reputation for canceling content that doesn’t coincide with progressive politics.
In recent memory Amazon has removed books from its online store, used its web services to deplatform a social media app popular with conservatives an even blocked a film about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from its streaming service.
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Here are some of the examples so far:
“Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words”
The documentary about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas vanished from Amazon’s streaming service during Black History Month. The film, which chronicles Thomas’ journey from “the depths of poverty” to the Supreme Court and everything in between, features archival footage of then-Sen. Joe Biden grilling Anita Hill during the infamous confirmation hearings.
Filmmaker Michael Pack told the Wall Street Journal that he was never offered an explanation as to why Amazon removed it.
Our distributor, who’s the one who made the deal with Amazon, has repeatedly asked them for explanations but they haven’t given any,” Pack told the Journal. “I don’t think Amazon should get away with doing these things without suffering at least some PR consequences.”
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“When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment”
Conservative author Ryan T. Anderson said this week his book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” was removed from Amazon last month.
“When Harry Became Sally,” which had previously been on Amazon’s bestseller list, aimed to provide “thoughtful answers to questions arising from our transgender moment” and offered a “a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.”
A search of Amazon for “When Harry Became Sally” doesn’t find Anderson’s book, instead suggesting books with the opposite view such as “The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society,” “Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture” and “Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment.”
Parler, a social media platform popular with conservatives because of its emphasis on free specch, was booted off Google Play and the Apple App Store following the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Soon after, Amazon Web Services disconnected Parler from its servers with just 24 hours notice.
“Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns”
Amazon initially told Alex Berenson last year his booklet on coronavirus, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1,” didn’t meet the company’s guidelines.
The former New York Times reporter quickly launched a protest on Twitter, calling the move “outrageous censorship from a company that gained hugely from lockdown” as millions were forced to shop online. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other prominent journalists defended Berenson, and Amazon eventually allowed the book to be sold on its platform. It became the No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store once the online retailer allowed it to be available.
Berenson had been outspoken about the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, irking liberals in the process. At the time, Amazon told Fox News it was an “error” and the book shouldn’t have been held up, but Berenson had his doubts.
“They didn’t say to me that it was a mistake… I do believe that I’m not the only person who has run into this. They need to be clear what their position is on publishing controversial material on political issues,” Berenson told Fox News at the time.
“It doesn’t seem to me that this was an error, but I don’t know.”
Similar situations occurred when Berenson released additional sections of the series.
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“What Killed Michael Brown?”
Filmmaker Eli Steele said last year Amazon blocked his film about the death of Michael Brown from appearing on its platform and he feels it was simply because his story “is not the politically correct narrative.”
Brown’s 2014 death sparked massive demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., and around the country, helping solidify the Black Lives Matter movement in the process. Amazon told Steele via email that the film did not meet the tech giant’s “content quality expectations” and would not be eligible to appear on the service.
“We will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed,” Amazon’s email added.
“Never once did it occur to me that the film would be rejected for content,” Steele told Fox News at the time. “It was shocking to me… if you watch the film, you hear voices from all over.”
He said Amazon allows other Brown-related films that are the “appropriate narrative,” compared to the one his father penned.
“Our side is not the politically correct narrative,” he said. “We speak the truth… we make no assumptions, no conspiracy, we don’t do any of that. It’s an intellectual film, it’s not a conspiracy film or anything that would warrant being blocked.”
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Washington Redskins merchandise
The Washington football team has ditched the offensive nickname and Amazon made sure that nostalgic fans can’t pick up any of the old gear. Amazon removed Redskins merchandise from its site back in July, a few days before the team officially scrapped the moniker.
Ads for “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters”
A prominent conservative publisher alleged last year that Amazon suspended a paid ad campaign for one of its books, claiming that it contains objectionable content about sexual orientation.
An email obtained by Fox News showed Amazon’s Advertising Support service defending its decision to suspend Regnery Publishing’s campaign for “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”
The book was written by Abigail Shrier, who has been outspoken on the issue, and, according to its description, it warns that ideas surrounding gender are prompting teenage girls to “disfigur[e] their bodies” with courses of testosterone.
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A Regnery spokesperson said at the time the ad itself wouldn’t have displayed the book description but simply buying options along with a photo of the cover, which features a drawing of a young girl with a hole in her abdomen.
In an email Regnery provided and said was sent by Amazon, the online retailer said: “It contains elements that may not be appropriate for all audiences, which may include ad copy/book content that infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation. Hence, this campaign will not be allowed to be advertised.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.