Amazon won’t fold after immense pressure to pull a Holocaust-denying and and generally antisemitic documentary from their platform, instead standing by it.
Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America came to infamy after basketballer Kyrie Irving espoused the documentary as a must-watch on his social media, before the Brooklyn Nets suspended him without pay. Hebrews to Negroes channels a mixture of pseudoscience, historical misinformation, and biblical literalism in its runtime, and touts a narrative deeply skeptical of the Holocaust.
Surprisingly, Amazon don’t plan on taking it off their service any time soon despite the public outcry. According to Variety, the Jeff Bezos-owned company have no intention of taking it down despite its clear issues with inflammatory misinformation, particularly given an uptick in antisemitic violence worldwide. The source indicates Amazon has no intent of adding a content warning to the documentary, nor the books it is based on.
However, this doesn’t mean they won’t take it down later down the line. The company’s content guidelines are fairly vague, and their decisions have been overturned in the past. Given the public pressure on Amazon, and the ongoing resurgence of antisemitism online with high profile celebrities, it may end up being a scenario where they need to, in order to save face.
Irving’s appreciation of the documentary saw none other than Kanye West come in to bat for him — because when you’re embroiled in an antisemitism controversy, he’s exactly who you want in your corner. Conversely, Shaquille O’Neal was far from happy with the situation, and took aim at both Irving and West.
Amazon’s reputation for hosting almost anything made can come to backfire often; that seemingly anyone can, in effect, self-publish on the streaming platform presents a clear dilemma when you’re trying to weed out misinformation and hate speech. There’s a fine line between freedom of speech, hate speech, and consequences for what you say.
Given the unfortunate return of antisemitism discourse, Amazon have hardly put their best foot forward so far in addressing their own role in the issue.