Should Amazon Succumb to Pressure to 'Dump Trump' Products?
Amazon prides itself on selling “Earth’s biggest selection” of products, but a large group of Amazon customers doesn’t have a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to one brand: The Donald J. Trump menswear collection.
UltraViolet, an online community that promotes equality and fights sexism, has gathered the support of more than 13,000 individuals who believe the ecommerce hub should cut business ties with Trump. Following the wide reception of the petition, UltraViolet addressed a letter to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for additional backing.
“Despite Donald Trump's sexist, racist comments, Amazon is promoting and profiting from him and his brand,” the campaign reads.
UltraViolet has had success with similar requests in the past. Three years ago, after the organization petitioned for Amazon to remove a shooting target dummy called “The Ex” (as in ex-girlfriend) by vendor Zombie Industries, Amazon complied.
Last summer, Macy’s famously began phasing out the Trump line from its retail offerings, and other companies and organizations have distanced themselves from Trump and his remarks. But is Amazon obligated to do the same?
Amazon lists a number of items it restricts from its website, and there is a category for “offensive products,” which the company describes partially as “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
The question is, just because Trump promotes these views, does that mean his ties and cufflinks evoke the same hatred? Is his name-branding enough to disqualify his duds from sale on the site?
It will be interesting to see how Bezos responds. It’s not as if he and Trump have a chummy public relationship -- Trump has fired tweets at Bezos, whose holding company owns the Washington Post, in retaliation for a story the Post published in December about preventing Trump from securing the presidential nomination.
In his reply, Bezos neither apologized to Trump nor explicitly denounced him. He offered him a ride to space on the Blue Origin rocket, keeping it ambiguous whether this was a kind gesture or an effort to exile him from Earth.
As Entrepreneur.com contributor Peter Gasca notes, “social media is awesome” when it comes to diffusing controversy. Perhaps Bezos can work his magic again in response to the petition.