Amazon has been the pioneer in the e-commerce sector across the world for ages now. It is so dominating in some areas that people might even use the words “Amazon” and “online shopping” interchangeably. Even though Amazon is expanding its operations like never before and is earning impressive amounts of revenues, this year is not going very good for the company. Amazon is being dragged into controversies, privacy tussles, and what not by the governments across the world, its workers, as well as its users.
What is the latest controversy which attracted Amazon?
Recently, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon changed its app icon for the first time in more than five years. It looks like the public didn’t like the new logo much as the e-commerce giant was compelled to tweak and make changes in the new design only a few weeks after it was introduced.
What was the controversy related to the new logo?
Users on social media pointed out an uncanny resemblance between Amazon’s new logo and Adolf Hitler. It was the toothbrush moustache that is famously associated with the German dictator.
The new logo had already begun to be featured on several regional app stores and was popular on the internet when this familiarity with Hitler got triggered. The logo was technically thought to feature Amazon’s signature curved arrow against a brown background. The arrow was tweaked to make it look like a generous smile and the brown background is assumed to reflect the cardboard boxes that are used to deliver the products ordered from Amazon. All of this was okay and acceptable until people noticed a small blue strip of packaging tape designed to be put at the top of the background box. It was after this that the new logo sparked a storm on social media.
How did people react?
A lot of people were extremely quick to take the jagged edges of the logo into account. The remarks that the blue tape closely resembled the characteristic toothbrush moustache of Germany’s dictator Adolf Hitler gained momentum with the speed of a wildfire. One of the social media users tweeted that the blue part of the new logo is not just a ripped scotch tape but a ripped scotch tape with a shape similar to that of Hitler’s Moustache placed right on top of a smiling mouth. “Looks like a happy little cardboard Adolf to me,” he said.
How did Amazon react to this entire controversy?
The company did not take any risks and chances. It did not wait for the controversy to enlarge and engulf its hard-earned reputation and it immediately made edits to the logo design following the customer feedback. The icon which was first unveiled in January was now slightly updated to ignore this weird similarity.
A spokesperson form Amazon said that the company is always on the lookout for new ways to delight its customers and that the new logo was designed to spark excitement, anticipation, and joy among the customers. he also said that the company wanted to deliver a feeling of excitement when they start their shopping journey on their phone. A feeling that is similar to the moment when they see Amazon’s delivery boxes or parcels on their doorstep.
It was on February 22, 2021, that the company launched its updated version of the icon on the iPhone. Soon, the new icon was rolled out for Android users as well. But this time the blue stripe in the new logo was made to look like a folded piece of tape and not like the jagged toothbrush moustache of Hitler.
In response to this edit, one of the users on social media tweeted that the new IOS app logo of Amazon was an “attempt 2 with 15% less Hitler”.
It is presumed that the new changes have been made as a response to the social media fire. However, the company has not officially claimed this or addressed whether the subtle change was due to the Nazi dictator resemblance.
Has there been any kind of controversy related to Amazon and Hitler/ Nazi before?
Well, this is not the first time that people have related Amazon with the German dictator or with Nazism, A report also suggested that the company is assisting hate groups to earn profits by giving them permits to sell their “Nazi-themed goods” via its platform.
According to BBC, a study found that a lot of goods being sold on Amazon’s store were branded with Nazi imagery. These goods sold by many hate groups included jewellery, replica military regalia, and clothing along with music and books.
However, now the company has removed a few of these products claiming that anyone who does not address and adhere to its guidelines shall face “swift action”.
The report by the Action Center on Race and the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families (two US organisations) also attacked the e-commerce giant for promoting unethical products and emotions.
The report highlighted the way by which the white supremacist groups funded themselves with the help of Amazon. It claimed that Amazon has “weak and inadequately enforced” regulations and policies that paved the way for racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic movements. These groups or movements made deciphered multiple ways in which they could generate cash to make their ideas spread and their fan base grow.
It found that there were a lot of products on Amazon with established hate symbols like the swastika and anti-black imagery. It also had goods depicting signs from the more modern imagery adopted by the current racist groups. Furthermore, Amazon hosted and published content from openly racist artists such as musicians, writers, and activists.
Does Amazon not have any regulatory policies against such products?
Technically, it does. Amazon had and still has specific policies that ban products and goods that encourage and trigger negative emotions. Products that glorify violence and hatred, and promote sexual, racial, or religious intolerance. However, the report found out that the company was not very successful in implementing and enforcing this stance.
Multiple groups asked the company to take a crystal-clear stand in front of the public on this issue of hate movements. People also urged the firm to take apt measures to stop such groups from profiting.
With this in the air, the company has removed many listed items which were mentioned to promote the above-mentioned sentiments in the report. The company said that it was undertaking necessary steps to stop the neo-Nazi musicians from streaming their content.
Has any other brand come under fire for resemblance to Hitler or Nazi imagery?
This phenomenon is not something happening for the first time. Nazi Germany and Hitler’s presence in history still haunts people who were themselves the victims of the holocaust as well as others. This particular era was something the entire world cannot let go of and something which can trigger thousands of sentiments in one single moment.
in recent years, A lot of brands apart from Amazon have come into the limelight for holding a reference (intentional or unintentional) to the Nazi period. Many have been accused of selling goods that encourage the emotions of hate speech and antisemitism. Let’s talk about a few instances.
This is not exactly the first time Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has been associated with Hitler and drawn into a controversy. Amazon has run into controversies before as well for using Nazi images in 2015 in relation to its show “Man in the High Castle. In the year 2015, the New York subway trains were plastered with posters promoting the Amazon Prime show and many riders expressed concerns and filed complaints about the posters featuring swastikas and other Nazi insignia.
Going beyond Amazon, once more company that we can talk about is Shein.
In the month of July last year, Shein encountered massive backlash and faced enormous chiding for a “metal pendant necklace” listed on its website. The fast-fashion retailer had a pendant necklace that was kind of similar to the shape of a swastika. The company removed the necklace from its website Following widespread criticism.
Recently, Marvel also had to make amends to its latest issue of the Immortal Hulk comic. This was after many readers raised concerns around the antisemitic imagery included in the comic. The name of the store in the store’s window was ‘Cronenberg’s Jewery’. It had a Star of David in the window which is a noted Jewish symbol, claimed a report in CBR.com.
It is not quite new for people to file lawsuits or express their ill feelings against companies for what they believe are offensive items. Another such incident was with the e-commerce website Myntra. The company was forced to alter its logo after an activist from Mumbai, named Naaz Patel, lodged a complaint alleging that the logo was “insulting and offensive” towards women. She is the founder of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called “Avesta Foundation’