Keith Ellison slams ‘disturbing’ hate group merchandise on Amazon in letter to Bezos

As Amazon advances with its annual Prime Day sale, the company still faces criticism for selling hateful merchandise on its platform, and now faces the scrutiny of a prominent lawmaker.

Earlier this month, a report published by two defense groups found numerous examples of merchandise of white and neo-Nazi supremacists available from Amazon, from a fiery baby cross monkey to a neo-Nazi toy Pepe the Frog. The report also noted that several works of white supremacist writers were available on Kindle. The company eliminated the offensive material, but it was only the last example of a criticism that the company has faced for years.

But Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has some questions for the company. In a letter sent to The Verge and sent today to CEO Jeff Bezos, the lawmaker says that "there seems to be a disturbing number of groups with odious, racist and violent agendas that make money using the Amazon platform" [19659005] "Historically, Amazon has not responded effectively to this problem," Ellison writes, "and continues to allow hate groups and neo-Nazis identified as SPLC and white nationalist writers to earn money using their platform."

The letter raises several questions for the company. Among them: How much money has Amazon made from the sale of hateful material? How does Amazon apply its policies? And can you commit to stop publishing the material of the hate groups within three months?

"Third-party vendors who use our Marketplace service should follow our guidelines and those who do not are subject to quick action, including possible deletion of their account," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

Ellison is requesting answers to questions before July 31.

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