Although not always overtly political, Amazon is definitively liberal. It has rejected conservative films, tried to inhibit conservative book sales by blocking ads and relied on left-wing, anti-Christian zealots to decide which charities qualify for AmazonSmile. This bias appears in many ways.
Twitch, an Amazon company since 2014, temporarily banned President Donald Trump in 2020 for “hateful conduct.” The offending material was a rebroadcast from his kickoff campaign rally in which he criticized illegal immigration and warned some people coming into the U.S. from Mexico were “rapists.” Twitch also called out his use of the term “hombre[s]” at a recent Tulsa rally. It reinstated him two weeks later after the content was removed.
Conservative groups petitioned Amazon’s board to stop letting the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) determine AmazonSmile eligibility. The company refused even though the SPLC considers conservative and Christian groups who support traditional marriage to be “hate or terrorist” groups. Floyd Lee Corkins, who entered and shot a guard at the Family Research Council in 2012, told the FBI he went to the SPLC’s website (which includes a map of so-called hate groups) to find anti-gay targets.
“Amazon consistently brags about its commitment to ‘diversity and inclusion,’ but I don’t think its board of directors knows what that means. By relying on the SPLC to decide which charities are eligible to receive donations through AmazonSmile, the company is expressing public and open hostility toward conservative and religious organizations,” Justin Danhof, Esq., of National Center for Public Policy Research said. “That’s viewpoint discrimination and it’s abhorrent.”
SPLC’s bias is directly related to its stance on LGBT issues, something Amazon shares. When the company openly proclaimed its values in a 2019 manifesto, those values included LGBTQ+ rights. It also included raising the federal minimum wage, “human-induced climate change is real, serious and action is needed,” promoting diversity and inclusion and immigrant rights.
Because Amazon is exactly that, an “Amazon” of a company, it has tremendous power. What began as an online bookseller grew into a retail and tech powerhouse, which turned founder and CEO Jeff Bezos into the richest man alive. It also creates original programming, decides what content is sold on its platforms and owns Twitch — a streaming site best known for gaming.
Amazon is worth more than $1 trillion. Bezos used some of his Amazon bounty to become a media mogul: buying the liberal Washington Post in 2013. After Trump became president, The Post unveiled the motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
- After Amazon lost a $10 billion military cloud computing contract in 2020 it filed an appeal, by seeking depositions from the Trump administration to try to prove Trump’s personal bias blocked the company’s bid.
- CNBC reported that as of July 2020, Amazon employees had donated more than 3 times as much to Democrats as Republicans ($2,677,112 versus $783,349) in the 2020 election cycle. Amazon employees gave the most to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
- Amazon reinstated an e-book by a conservative journalist Alex Berenson, which criticized coronavirus lockdowns after receiving pressure from critics including Elon Musk. It had tried to ban sales of the book.
- In May 2020, Amazon rejected a shareholder resolution to end viewpoint discrimination against Christians and conservatives through AmazonSmile. Amazon relies on the biased, left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to determine eligibility of charities on AmazonSmile. The Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom are both blocked by Amazon’s giving program.
- Regnery publishers said Amazon suspended its paid ad campaign for the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, because it challenged transgender ideology. Amazon said about the book: "It contains elements that may not be appropriate for all audiences, which may include ad copy/book content that infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation. Hence, this campaign will not be allowed to be advertised."
- Amazon has censored conservative filmmaker Michael Hansen’s movies about online censorship, immigration and Islam in Europe. Part 1 of his latest movie, “Killing Free Speech” was removed by Amazon, while Part 2 was labeled “offensive content” and blocked from the platform. Amazon also censored two of his earlier films.
- During the 2020 election year Amazon banned sponsored products related to political campaigns, but CNBC found it was struggling to enforce it. Hundreds of products related to political campaigns were still on the site. Meanwhile, many products in compliance were being removed.
- Amazon employees were found wrongly removing ads for religious products due to an ad policy change. The company called it a mistake and said the employees were being retrained, but some small sellers had already taken a financial hit.
- Sales decisions have also provoked scrutiny over bias. Conservatives have noted Amazon banned the sale of confederate flags but allows pregnant nun costumes.
- A 2019 Wall Street Journal report alleged that Amazon changed its algorithms to boost sales of its own products over selling partners. The Atlantic noted that the problem with potential algorithm bias is that it is nearly impossible to prove.
- In early 2019, Bezos called up former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to see if he was going to run for president in 2020 (months ahead of him actually joining the race).
- Amazon was an “early and strong” supporter of gay marriage and brags about providing gender transition benefits to its employees. A Washington Post spread also indicated LGBTQ rights were the “unspoken factor in Amazon’s HQ2 hunt.”
- Two Amazon employees alleged that they were threatened with firing after criticizing the company’s environmental policies.
- Bezos and Trump have been taking verbal swings at each other on Twitter since 2015.