On Tuesday, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade crafts and goods, decided to ban “Redskins” and its logo from its website.
Etsy informed its sellers and their consumers that regardless of whether people feel that Redskins is a sign of respect, “the fact remains that Native Americans themselves find the term unacceptable.”
“Sellers are welcome to continue selling items that contain the team colors and location, but items containing the name or the logo will no longer be allowed,” the company wrote. “This change takes effect today. Our Marketplace Integrity Team is contacting members by email whose listings are affected by this updated policy. If you have questions about a specific item in your shop or that you might want to list on Etsy, please contact us using the Help Center.”
The company said it was seeking “to balance two principles that are critically important to us: freedom of speech and protection from discrimination” before noting that freedom of speech “is not without limits.”
“We want Etsy to be safe, welcoming, and respectful for everyone, including artists, women, and minorities,” the company said. “For this reason, it has long been against our policies to allow content on our site that demeans people based upon race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.”
The company said the recent decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Appeals Board to cancel the Redskins trademark was influential in its decision:
You may have been following the struggle of one ethnic group that has made a lot of headlines lately: Native Americans and their fight against the Washington, D.C. professional football team name and mascot, which they have long considered offensive, disparaging, and racist. This very poignant ad was followed by a decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the team’s trademarks. Following this decision, an increasing number of public figures, politicians, schools, news publications, and private companies have spoken out in protest of the name and mascot.
Like the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, we at Etsy find the opinion of the minority group itself to carry most weight in determining whether the mascot is disparaging. In no uncertain terms, Native American groups have consistently advocated and litigated that the term “redskin(s)” is disparaging and damaging to Native Americans. Therefore, it will no longer be permitted in our marketplace.
Numerous publications have banned “Redskins.” And last week, the New York Daily News, like Etsy, banned the Redskins and its mascot from its publication.