A group of employees at Amazon are working to push the management of the ecommerce giant to stop advertising on the Breitbart website. According to BuzzFeed, the employees first raised the matter on March 22 when they sent an email to Amazon’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos as well as to senior vice president, Jeff Blackburn. The email was signed by 564 employees and it contained a petition opposed to Amazon ads appearing on Breitbart.
Also contained in the email were personal comments from diverse employees. In one comment, a female employee who is also a minority and an immigrant implored Amazon to cut its ties to the online news publication which she described as being full of hate. Another employee confessed that when people learn where he works, the first question he gets is how he can justify working for an organization that advertises on a ‘hate website’.
Yet another female employee of Amazon revisited a controversial article that had appeared on the Breitbart website by a former editor of the publication which suggested that a hiring bias that works against women in the technology sector does not exist. Instead, the controversial article penned by Milo Yiannopoulos argued, women were mediocre in interviews. The employee went on to say that Amazon’s support for the website through placing advertisements was making it near-impossible to recruit and keep more women in the various technical roles in the tech sector.
Later, the employees confronted the senior vice president demanding to know what it would take for the online retail giant to stop placing ads on the Breitbart website. According to sources, the employees were not pleased with the response they got.
“It’s making those decisions for us through a third party, industry standard filter that we use. And that’s what you’re seeing. Some of the pages on the site that you mentioned are passing through those filters,” Burns is said to have told the employees who reacted with utter silence.
Matter under review
Though there is no direct relationship between Breitbart and Amazon, the Seattle, Washington-based ecommerce firm is involved in selecting the ad-buying exchanges it uses. In such a situation advertisers also determine how their ads are going to be targeted. Following the outcry from employees, Amazon is now said to be reconsidering the matter.
Following the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, there has been consistent pressure placed on Amazon by employees and customers alike who have been urging the company to stop advertising on Breitbart. One petition on the SumOfUs.org website has garnered over half a million signatures so far.