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 at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday, addressed 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. The CEO was interviewed on stage by the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, who said he is Jewish. Jassy also said he 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 products or 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 his Nike shoe line was dropped, Irving made a $500,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League and he apologized for promoting the 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.”
Also at the DealBook conference, Jassy spoke about recent layoffs made by Amazon, which could reportedly could eliminate about 10,000 corporate jobs. “We just felt like we needed to streamline our costs,” Jassy 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.”
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