Etsy, Amazon and eBay Remove Proud Boys Apparel, Merchandise
Last week, we reported that Fred Perry had stopped selling one of its iconic polo shirts after the design was co-opted by the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys. This week, various e-commerce sites have taken action to limit the spread of the group’s message by removing all Proud Boy merchandise from their online shelves.
Toward the end of last week, Vice did a roundup of online retailers like Amazon, Teespring and eBay that removed products displaying Proud Boys-related imagery, but some products still lingered on Etsy. Since then, Etsy has followed its competition and removed all items related to the Proud Boys organization.
The anti-Proud Boys wave grew after President Donald Trump said “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” when asked to denounce the group, which has been classified as a hate group by organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) September 30, 2020
“Sellers on Etsy agree to follow our policies, which prohibit, among other things, hate against protected identities, attempting to incite violence against individuals or groups,” a spokesperson for Etsy told The Verge. “We actively monitor the site and review and remove merchandise that violates our policies.”
The spokesperson added that Proud Boys-related merchandise had actually been prohibited on the site for a long time, but certain things slip through the cracks before they can be removed.
Companies will have to be diligent, as Proud Boys members quickly created merchandise referencing Trump’s debate quote on merchandise. And, as we’ve seen countless times before, once the internet gets a hold of something, it’s hard to stop it from ending up on merchandise.
Sites where third-party sellers can upload and sell T-shirts and other custom merchandise have been notoriously hard to police. Amazon comes under fire seemingly once every few months for allowing questionable content on its platform, while Teespring and even Walmart have had similar issues.