Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Amazon

So in case you missed it, the social media world has been in an uproar for the last 24 hours since it was discovered that Amazon had listed this self-published digital book (Kindle) on their site:

Yes that's right Amazon thought it was OK to list a book entitled 'The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct'.

In the product description for the book, the author, Phillip R. Greaves, describes it as this: "To make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. 

I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."

Even more disturbing is the author's thoughts he gave to a reporter (as reported on
"To tell you the truth, I don't think it is always that bad for the child, but I do think it is always confining for the adult," said Graves. "If it is something the child didn't have any problems with then maybe a fine of some sort, but if it was actual physical harm or mental trauma...oh a few years in jail perhaps."

Needless to say once word hit Twitter and Facebook the #boycottamazon hashtag started and cries of 'shame on you Amazon' got louder and louder.

People were furious, outraged, shocked, sickened and media jaws were dropping everywhere.  And rightfully so.

Amazon's response to the controversial book was this...
"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

Oh dear Amazon really? You didn't really issue that as a press release did you? You're going to use the freedom of speech and choice cop out? Really?  That is beyond shameful. 

(And for the record as pointed out by Anderson Cooper last night, Amazon does censor material - they censor all material that is deemed 'pornographic'.)

This morning after realizing that their press release wasn't going to silence the calls for an all out #boycottamazon right before the holiday season, Amazon caved and quietly decided to pull the book.

Unfortunately for Amazon their decision to finally cave in to public pressure isn't good enough for me. I was relieved that they came to their senses and pulled the book but their initial press release left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Bottom line for me - the line they chose to defend the sale of the book 'Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions' is as despicable as the crime itself.  

To allow an author sell a book that is promoting an illegal crime - a sexual crime against innocent children - to me is the equivalent to turning a blind eye to the issue.

It shows complete and utter disrespect to all the 1000s of children who have been victims of sexual abuse.

FYI Amazon, it's not OK to say you don't promote criminal acts and then turn around and OK the listing of this book.  It's called hypocrisy.  Go to your book section, buy a thing called a 'dictionary' and look it up.

It's the worst case of bad judgement in the name of making a dollar I have seen in a very long time.

Unlike the act of instantly deleting a listing from your site that took mere seconds to do - my memory...well unfortunately for you, it's much longer than that.

I soon won't forget.

And as a result I wont' be making any purchases through Amazon for a very, very long time. Maybe never again...even when the #boycottamazon hashtags disappear and become nothing but a distant social media memory.

And Amazon, for what you are paying your PR department...I suggest you make full use of their services.  An apology letter to your advertisers, your customers and more importantly all the victims of sexual abuse is in order.  This isn't isn't a 'sit around, have a focus group, consult our lawyers and suits' kinda thing - it's doing a 'what's right' kinda thing.  

No hiding your head in the sand on this one Amazon - this wasn't just an 'oops my bad in judgement call' this was a colossal error of monumental proportions. This wasn't a book of fiction, it was a a red flag never went up I'll never know. 

And as a free PR piece of advice - while your crafting your apology 'for this round of 'bad decision making' press release you might want to think about removing this book from your listings 'Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers' by David L Riegel.   You'll be saving yourself having to write a second apology press release. 

Just saying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree and wonderfully written and I will NEVER purchase anything from them again!