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Amazon removes Nazi-themed items after complaints

Amazon says it has removed items with Nazi or white supremacist symbols from its website after criticism from advocacy groups.

An Amazon executive said the company blocked the accounts of some retailers and might suspend them.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota complained to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last month. The company's vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, responded to Ellison, telling him that Amazon prohibits listing products that promote or glorify hatred, violence or intolerance.

A spokeswoman for Seattle-based Amazon.com declined to comment further on Sunday.

The retailing giant's policy states "prohibited listings" on its website include "products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.

In early July, the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy highlighted Amazon listings including swastika pendants, baby onesies with burning cross logos and a costume that makes the wearer look like he has been lynched — the model appears to be a black man.

The groups said in a report. "Amazon enables the celebration of ideologies that promote hate and violence by allowing the sale of hate symbols and imagery on its site, including Confederate and anti-Black imagery, Nazi and fascist imagery, and the newly adopted imagery of the modern white nationalist movement."

Ellison, who is deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, asked Bezos how much money Amazon made from selling material including books published by hate groups since 2015, and whether it would destroy such merchandise at its warehouses.

Huseman said Amazon "makes a significant investment" in enforcing seller policies, including automated tools to scan listings and automatically removing those that violate its policies.

The executive said Amazon was preventing the sale of the items in question and was in the process of removing them from fulfillment centers.

Amazon isn't the only online retailer where objectionable merchandise can be found. EBay, for instance, offers Pepe the frog bibs, which are billed on the site as an "alt-right" baby shower gift.

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