Following a wave of criticism from shoppers, social media users and anti-slavery organizations, Amazon pulled various products with the slogan “Slavery Gets Shit Done” off its website. The offending products included bibs, mugs, T-shirts and other apparel—some of which was modeled on the website by children and toddlers.
Users called out the retailing giant questioning not only the nature of the shirts, but how the slogan could get through quality control in the first place. The company’s policy states that it will remove products that “promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
“One in four of the estimated 40 million people in slavery today are children,” David Westlake, CEO of International Justice Mission UK, told Global Citizen. “Today, children the same age as those modeling these t-shirts will be forced to work long, back-breaking hours for no pay,” he continued. “They will be living in desperate conditions where starvation, beatings and sleep deprivation are common.”
Amazon has pulled the products from the website, saying in a statement: “All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”
However, as H&M learned earlier this month, that might be too little, too late. Though the Swedish retailer removed its “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweatshirt modeled on a black child, the controversy cost it major partners and collaborators, including musician The Weeknd and rapper G-Eazy.
“Whether an oblivious oversight or not, [i]t’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many … and be deemed acceptable,” G-Eazy wrote on social media then, adding that he doesn’t want his name and brand “associated with a company that could let this happen.”
In a response to a request for comment, Amazon pointed Adweek to its published statement, adding that “the item was offered by a third-party and is no longer available.”