Amazon employees seek to force company executives to pull ads from Breitbart, according to documents obtained by Buzzfeed News.
BuzzFeed states that internal documents sent between Amazon employees and Amazon management show that many employees urge company officials to pull advertisements from Breitbart, a trend seemingly started by Kellogg’s, which pulled ads from Breitbart last November. BuzzFeed posted screenshots of conversations held on Amazon’s internal issue escalation system in which one employee stated, “Without naming names, I can attest that several employees have come to me in the past month questioning this exact point and I’ve stopped them from leaving the company.”
BuzzFeed claims that in response to this, Amazon’s advertisement team refused to block Breitbart from the Amazon advertising program and closed the ticket from further responses from employees. “As per guidance from PR/Policy/Legal, the DA team are not blocking breitbart.com,” stated the Amazon advertisement team, “As per prior guidance ‘our customers are choosing to go there. It is not our place to assume why they’re going there, or impose our own standards.’”
The advertisement team did, however, indicate looking into a “longer term solution to use a 3rd party brand safety which may block amazon ads from showing up on certain pages on sites like Breitbart in the future.”
Some employees were reportedly not happy with the response they received from the advertisement team with one stating, “I actually do believe Amazon does have the right to follow its customers to wherever they may spend their time online, but … I also believe that amazon employees have the right to reject profiting from and funding any website they personally disagree with. It seems evident now that for some current Amazonians, Breitbart is one of those sites.” Another employee stated, “Maybe I’m misreading this but it sounds like we’ve made a very conscious decision to keep advertising on Breitbart. I’m deeply, deeply disappointed in Amazon if that’s actually the policy.”
Another employee worried that Amazon’s advertisement on Breitbart could damage the business. “While I understand the business concerns and the current climate make talking about this kind of thing a minefield,” the malcontent wrote, “we’re rapidly approaching the point where not talking about it will only foment bad blood, and at best we’ll start silently losing customers and employees. That’s not the Amazon I know.”
Amazon has been a vocal opponent of President Trump’s temporary travel halt with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saying in a message to all Amazon employees, “This executive order is one we do not support. Our public policy team in D.C. has reached out to senior administration officials to make our opposition clear. … To our employees in the U.S. and around the world who may be directly affected by this order, I want you to know that the full extent of Amazon’s resources are behind you.”
Amazon also filed a sworn statement in Washington state court, adding to the state attorney general’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order.
In an internal email an employee seemed confused by Amazon’s public actions against President Trump’s executive order and the company’s continued advertisement on Breitbart: “Given HR’s and Jeff’s latest statements on immigration executive order, keeping Amazon ads on Breitbart, a white nationalist website which has been promoting the same hateful rhetoric behind the EO, for years, is directly contradictory to the principles HR and Jeff claim Amazon stands for.”
BuzzFeed reports that multiple employees have requested that Amazon reopen the Breitbart complaint ticket
Amazon have been the subject of controversy in the past. In 2015, The New York Times reported that Amazon exploits their workers with unforgiving management practices. The article caused such a public outcry that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos personally responded with an email to employees assuring them that he would not tolerate “callous” management practices. In November of last year An Amazon employee hurled himself from the company’s Seattle offices in a suspected suicide attempt. The employee had recently been placed on an employee Performance Improvement Plan by Amazon and feared for his job. This week, TechCrunch reported that despite confidence from investors and rising stock prices, Amazon failed to deliver on their fourth-quarter earning expectations in 2016.
BuzzFeed reports that Amazon refused to comment when questioned about their advertisement on Breitbart.