In 2021, a handful of Amazon employees quit the company over its decision to sell books that suggest kids who identify as transgender are mentally ill. Now, a group of employees is protesting its continued sale of those books by disrupting a Pride event at its headquarters in Seattle. According to The Washington Post, around 30 members of the organization No Hate at Amazon laid on the ground wrapped in trans flags to stop the company's annual Pride flag-raising tradition. An organizer said: "Amazon does have standing policies against hate speech in its content and technically they say we don't sell it." But in truth, those contentious books are still listed on its website.
I’m at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, where about 30 Amazon employees are staging a die-in during Amazon’s Pride Flag raising ceremony in protest of the company’s continued sale of what they say are transphobic books. pic.twitter.com/Pz0Pyy0Mzi
— Katherine Long (@_katya_long) June 1, 2022
In a petition the group previously circulated to get Amazon to stop selling anti-trans books, it specifically named two titles: Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier and Johnny the Walrus by American conservative political commentator Matt Walsh. "By continuing to sell and promote anti-trans books and repeating the rhetoric of the anti-trans hate movement, Amazon upper management has allowed the store that we build and operate to be complicit in [the anti-trans] hate movement," the petition reads.
At least one employee who participated in the event quit the company this week. Senior software engineer Lina Jodoin explained that it's more than just about the sale of those books, but also about the response they've gotten from management when they tried to escalate their concerns. And based on the company's response to the protest, it will keep on selling those titles.
Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told The Post in a statement:
"As a company, we believe strongly in diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a bookseller, we’ve chosen to offer a very broad range of viewpoints, including books that conflict with our company values and corporate positions. We believe that it’s possible to do both – to offer a broad range of viewpoints in our bookstore, and support diversity, equity, and inclusion."