The free speech debate was reignited this week by Amazon deciding to sell The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct. I decided not to check this out on their website, I wasn’t prepared to give them the hits and up their advertising numbers, but I did read quite a few articles on the topic.
The first I heard was via twitter (I can’t remember who tweeted it) and I tracked down this article on the msnbc.comwebsite which includes the authors attempt to reason with why this book should be made available for “pedosexuals”. Again I’m not quoting a person like this on my blog but the article by Helen A.S. Popkin can be found here. What I did find in her article, which I will quote, is Amazon’s reply to the outrage in selling this book. She writes:
Amazon issued a statement that will no doubt fuel the outraged comments multiplying on the “Pedophile’s Guide” Amazon page.”Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable,” it reads. “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.”
This inevitably lead the free speech debate, the old proverbial “slippery slope”, and those who just said, fuck it, the truth of the matter is not everyone deserves free speech. The gamut of comments via the twitter hashtag #boycottamazon is a fair indication of both sides of the story.
Furthermore, as I have been researching this piece I’ve discovered another article on msnbc.com with claims that “Amazon sells books and videos containing images of children in possible sexual situations.”
Besides the obvious fact that paedophilia is illegal, I just can’t get over the sheer arrogance on behalf of Amazon. It tells us of their “they need us more than we need them” attitude and their blatant disregard for their consumers. Amazon is a multi-million dollar company. The profits they would make from this book are slim, a drop in the ocean. At what point did Amazon feel that they didn’t need to worry about the affect of their products on their consumers because they were just too big to care. In my eyes it boils down to this:
1 – Companies should have a moral compass, a code of conduct, a moment of thought before they add a new product to their line.
2 – When they add that new product they must consider the ramifications wider than their ability to make money.
This is a damaging and dangerous product that Amazon are selling.
I don’t buy from Amazon. I live in Australia and consider my carbon miles and the impact on the Australian book trade when I buy goods, so buying from a multi million dollar US company doesn’t really do it for me. But judging from the public response Amazon’s decision has damaged the company name and potential sales in the pre-christmas period. Any director questioning whether it was a good decision to sell whatever they want without considering their audience needs to think again.
Paedophilia is more than just illegal. Amazon know this but chose to ignore this despite their code that “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts”. One more time in case it doesn’t sink in “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts”. But actions really do speak louder than words, and this works both ways. Let’s act – boycott Amazon.