Amazon to stop selling Confederate flags

23 Jun 2015

With a number of major US-based retailers choosing to pull products that bear the Confederate flag from their shelves, the pressure was on Amazon to follow suit. Now it appears the online store is doing just that, with a spokesperson claiming that the flag is to be removed from its inventory.

Speaking to CNN earlier today, eBay’s director of communications Johnna Hoff  said that the Confederate flag has “become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism” and that the company would be banning “many items containing this image”.

The move comes in the aftermath of last week’s mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. 21-year-old Dylann Roof has confessed to entering a church and murdering nine black parishioners, claiming he wanted to start a “race war”. A photo later emerged of Roof holding a gun in one hand and a Confederate flag in the other, sparking widespread demand that the flag – seen by many as a symbol of hatred, racism and the slave-holding south – be lowered from the statehouse.

The right decisions

Amazon’s announcement follows the decisions of Walmart, Sears and eBay to stop selling products decorated in the flag. “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our website,” said Walmart spokesman Brian Nick. “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”

As pointed out by Vanity Fair, sales of the Confederate flag rose by as much as 3,620pc on Amazon prior to their removal, while others showed their distaste for the product by posting negative reviews. A recent one-star review on a since-removed page dubbed the flag “a great way to show the world you are an ignorant bigot”.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley yesterday announced in a news conference that she supports removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. “This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” she said.

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic