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Amazon Will Continue to Sell Antisemitic Documentary for Now: ‘We Have to Allow Access to Those Viewpoints, Even If They Are Objectionable,’ CEO Says

Andy Jassy - Amazon CEO
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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who has been under fire for the ecommerce giant’s continuing to sell an antisemitic book and movie, declined to say whether the company would remove them after the backlash.

Jassy, speaking Wednesday at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, sidestepped the question of whether Amazon would continue to sell “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which denies that millions of Jews died during the Holocaust and asserts that Jews control the media. Jassy also didn’t say whether Amazon would add a disclaimer to the title. The CEO was interviewed on stage by the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, who said he is Jewish and was not OK with Amazon’s decision to keep selling “Hebrews to Negroes.” Jassy said he also was Jewish.

According to Jassy, “we have to allow access to those viewpoints, even if they are objectionable,” because Amazon sells products and services to “hundreds of millions of customers with a lot of different viewpoints.” The Amazon chief said the decision to remove “Hebrews to Negroes” is less “straightforward” than pulling content that actively promotes violence or pedophilia.

“Hebrews to Negroes” became a bestseller on Amazon after the film was promoted by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving on Twitter. After the team temporarily suspended him and Nike dropped his shoe line, Irving made a $500,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League and he apologized for promoting the film.

VIP+ Analysis: How Amazon Handled an Antisemitic Film

More than 200 celebrities and entertainment execs, including Mila Kunis, Debra Messing and Mayim Bialik, signed an open letter calling on Amazon (as well as and Barnes & Noble) to stop selling the antisemitic documentary and book “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.”

Amazon sells other controversial items, including an edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” for the Kindle; the page for “Mein Kampf” indicates that proceeds from sales are “donated to Jewish Charities & Organizations.”

Also at the DealBook conference, Jassy spoke about recent layoffs made by Amazon, which reportedly has planned to eliminate about 10,000 corporate jobs. Jassy said the cuts were necessary because the economy was “more uncertain” than previously expected: “We just felt like we needed to streamline our costs,” he said.

In a memo to Amazon employees two weeks ago, Jassy wrote that the company had eliminated “a number of positions” across its devices and books businesses and had extended buyout offers to some employees in Amazon’s People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organization. He added that “there will be more role reductions” going into 2023 “as leaders continue to make adjustments.”