By ArLuther Lee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all
Amazon and other online stores have blocked merchants from selling products with the words “stand back” and “stand by,” which President Donald Trump said during Tuesday night’s presidential debate while refusing to condemn the far-right extremist group Proud Boys.
Immediately after the debate, online sellers began featuring the phrase on T-shirts, tank tops and a variety of other products, according to reports.
Merchandise featuring the Proud Boys logo also sprang up but has since been removed from both Amazon and Teespring, another website for small sellers.
“It has come to our attention that content promoting hate and violence has been circulating on Teespring,” Teespring executives told CBS MoneyWatch. “We have no interest in profiting off hate or violence, and in this case we immediately removed the designs as they violate our policies.”
Trump told the extremist group to “stand back” and “stand by” after moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News asked the president if he would be willing to condemn white supremacists.
“Sure. I’m willing to do that, I’m willing to do anything,” the president responded, although he would not directly denounce the group.
“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by,” the president said defiantly, adding that “Almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing” in reference to national protest violence.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Proud Boys a hate group.
The group’s members widely celebrated Trump’s remarks on social media the same night, while critics accused the president of stirring racial divisions.
Trump attempted to clarify his comments the next day before leaving the White House for a campaign rally, saying “I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but whoever they are, they need to stand down and let law enforcement do their work,” he told reporters.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the products had been removed.
“All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.”
The policy on Amazon’s website spells out “prohibited listings” that include “products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance,” as well as those that “promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group.”