Amazon blocks sale of merchandise with “stand back” and “stand by”

Amazon and other online retailers are pulling merchandise from their sites emblazoned with the words “stand back” and “stand by” and displaying the insignia of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. 

Shirts bearing the words cropped up for sale after President Donald Trump uttered the phrase on Tuesday night, referring to the white supremacist group, during his debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Individuals associated with the Proud Boys online took Mr. Trump’s directive as words of encouragement, and products displaying the phrase quickly made their way onto sites including Amazon and Teespring, an online platform that lets users create and sell their own merchandise. 

But Amazon began blocking sales of the items on Wednesday, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed. “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question have been removed,” the spokesperson said by email.

The ecommerce company in the past has blocked accounts of those selling items with Nazi or white supremacist symbols from its website. Amazon’s policy states that “prohibited listings” on its website include “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.

Teespring also confirmed that it had yanked products with the phrase. 

“It has come to our attention that content promoting hate and violence has been circulating on Teespring,” the retailer told CBS MoneyWatch. “We have no interest in profiting off hate or violence, and in this case we immediately removed the designs as they violate our policies.”

Designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for white nationalist, anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric, the proud Boys has sent its followers to demonstrations where they’ve clashed with protesters. The group describes itself as “western chauvinists” but denies support for fascism.

“We condemn all forms of -isms … whether it be racism, fascism, communism or socialism,” Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarro told CBS News via a representative on Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump was also in clean-up mode, claiming he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition,” he said from the White House South Lawn. ‘Cause I really don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work. Law enforcement will do the work.” 

Asked about white supremacy, Mr. Trump said, “I’ve always denounced any form of that.”

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