(The Hill) — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Wednesday signaled that the company would not take down an antisemitic film and book from its store that gained attention after Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving promoted it.
Irving was suspended from the Nets after tweeting a link to the 2018 film titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which was based on a 2015 book of the same name and contains a number of antisemitic tropes. The film and book remain available on Amazon as pressure grows for their removal.
“We have hundreds of millions of customers with lots of different viewpoints,” Jassy told Andrew Ross Sorkin during an interview at The New York Times’s DealBook Summit.
“And inside the company, we won’t tolerate hate or discrimination or harassment, but we also recognize as a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with lots of different viewpoints, we have to be willing to allow access to those viewpoints even if they are objectionable and even if they differ from our own personal viewpoints,” Jassey added.
Jassey, who identified himself as Jewish during the interview, took over as CEO last year after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stepped down from the role.
During Wednesday’s interview, Jassy said he found parts of the film “very objectionable” but argued removing the content would create a slippery slope, describing content removal decisions as one of Amazon’s trickiest issues.
“In some cases, it’s more straightforward when you have content that actively incites or promotes violence or teaches people how to do things like pedophilia, those are easy,” Jassy said. “We don’t allow those and those are straightforward decisions. When you have content whose primary purpose is not to espouse hate or ascribe negative characteristics to people, that is much trickier and a very slippery slope.”
Irving, who previously garnered controversy for declining to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, causing him to miss games, made his on-court return late last month after apologizing for promoting the film, which led to a suspension on Nov. 3
The seven-time All-Star had come under criticism from the Nets’s owner, the NBA commissioner and Jewish advocacy groups for the now-deleted tweet.
Nike also suspended their relationship with Irving, canceling the release of his ninth signature shoe with the company.