New York, NY, January 13, 2021 – In the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill where numerous extremists were captured on video wearing antisemitic sweatshirts and displaying other hateful items available from online retailers, ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) today called on all companies that operate online marketplaces to strengthen and better enforce policies banning any product that promotes or glorifies white supremacy, racism, Holocaust denial or trivialization, or any other type of hatred or violence.
“While online retailers have done an admirable job of increasing economic opportunities for small businesses, many have failed at ensuring their platforms are not being exploited by extremists through merchandise that glorifies violence, conspiracy myths such as QAnon, antisemitic canards and other xenophobic and hateful views,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “Online marketplaces have failed miserably at providing proactive oversight of the products that third-party sellers sell on their platforms. There can be no excuse for anyone to profiteer from merchandise that advocates the killing of Jews or any other group, or that mocks the Holocaust.”
Added Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, “While companies have taken some steps since the violence last week, they must do more and eradicate this problem. Online retailers have profited directly from the sale of these items, and have indirectly facilitated the spread of hateful ideologies, allowing extremists to proudly express their racist, sexist and antisemitic views.”
Said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, “Today’s joint statement by the World Jewish Congress and ADL makes clear that online retailers have a responsibility to more aggressively find and remove hateful products and items that support hateful movements. “Without aggressive, sustained and proactive enforcement of such policies, hateful movements and organizations will continue to market their toxic ideologies, and extremists will continue to have opportunities in the digital marketplace to profit from their deplorable views and increase the risk of violence.”
Hateful merchandise was on full display during the siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in Washington, D.C. Supporters of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, wearing Q apparel and waving Q flags, were easy to spot, as were anti-government followers of the three percenters (III%ers) and the Oath Keepers. At least one protestor wore a sweatshirt with the slogan “Camp Auschwitz – work brings freedom.” Some of the appalling apparel adorned by the rioters is still available for purchase on platforms including eBay. And copies of the shirts spotted during the riot were available mere hours later on online stores that are not operated by large companies like Amazon, but rather smaller retailers like Teehands, ChampionsTee, and QuatinaShirt.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.