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Rep. Keith Ellison: Why Does Amazon Keep Selling White Supremacist Products?

Updated, July 18

In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, shared his concerns about the amount of money the company has made from selling white-supremacist propaganda.

“There appear to be a disturbing number of groups with hateful, racist, and violent agendas making money using Amazon’s platform,” he writes, questioning whether the company is committed to taking this merchandise off the market.

Ellison is referring to a recently released report by the the Action Center on Race & the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families, which argues that Amazon is still allowing the sale of dozens of products displaying symbols of white supremacy in its online store.

Ellison gave examples of products, including children’s clothing and five volumes of the Occidental Quarterly, a racist journal.

Ellison added a list of questions at the end of his letter, to which he requested answers by July 31. He asked Bezos how much Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing are making off these sales, as well as how Amazon enforces its policies against the sale of racist and hateful items.

Amazon’s policy says it prohibits the sale of “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Third party sellers who use our Marketplace service must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account.”

Major Jewish group have strongly criticized Ellison for having contact with Rev. Louis Farrakhan, head of the anti-Semitic political and religious movement Nation of Islam; Ellison has called that relationship a “mistake.” In February, some Jewish leaders urged Ellison to step down as deputy chairman of the Democratic Party.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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