After several weeks of controversy, Amazon confirmed that it does not intend to remove Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black Americaa documentary accused of being anti-Semitic. This was stated by Andy Jassy, CEO of the company, during his participation in the DealBook conference organized by The New York Times. And he took the opportunity to highlight the difficulties posed by content moderation for sales on his platform.
The executive’s statements came after the controversy involving Kyrie Irving, one of the stars of the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA. The basketball player came under fire at the end of October, after sharing an Amazon link to the aforementioned feature film, which was released in 2018. The production received strong criticism for its anti-Semitic statements, such as the accusation that the American press is under Jewish control. , Holocaust denial, and alleged Jewish oppression of communities of color.
The situation led to the New York franchise suspending the athlete for eight games, after initially refusing to offer an apology. But it also caused different organizations and celebrities to asked Amazon to remove both the documentary and its eponymous bookwhich was published in 2014. However, the Seattle-based firm has refused, and its CEO has now explained why.
Consulted on the case of Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, Andy Jassy remarked that content moderation is one of the most complex problems to deal with at Amazon. “Some cases are easier. If you have jobs that actively promote or incite violence, or teach people how to do things like pedophilia, it’s easy. [controlarlos]. We don’t allow those. When you have content that’s not primarily intended to espouse hate or attribute negative characteristics to people, it’s much more complicated. And it can be even more complex if we take them out of the store.”
Amazon, in the middle of the debate over an anti-Semitic documentary
In case of Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America has put Amazon in a difficult position. As soon as the Kyrie Irving scandal broke out, the company assured that was considering placing a content warning on both the documentary and the book. However, none of this happened.
Also, the situation has left Andy Jassy in an awkward position, for being Jewish. However, the manager has tried to draw a dividing line between your faith and the obligations of your office. “I am concerned about anti-Semitism and find various parts of this work [el documental] objectionable. But I think you have to be principled if you’re willing to run something as big as we are,” he said. He added: “As content distributors for hundreds of millions of customers with many different points of view, we must allow access to those points of view. view, even if they are objectionable and differ from our particular views”.
As explained The New York Times, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America it came to Amazon via Prime Video Direct. This tool was launched in 2016 to allow independent filmmakers and content creators to bring their productions to a wider audience. Since its premiere in 2018, the documentary accused of being anti-Semitic went virtually unnoticedbut achieved massive exposure after being shared by Irving in front of his millions of followers on social media.
For now, the film is still available to be rented or purchased on Amazon. And the company’s claim that it doesn’t intend to remove it — or mark it as potentially offensive — leaves the door open for the controversy to continue in force.