Many prominent online retailers have vowed to remove all items bearing the Confederate flag from their websites following a mass shooting last week at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. So far, eBay, Wal Mart, Sears and Kmart have announced plans to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise online and in their brick-and-mortar stores. CNBC reports that Amazon and Etsy will also remove Confederate flag items from their online marketplaces, though the companies have yet to officially announce any plans. In addition to these online retailers, prominent US flag maker Valley Forge Flag today promised to stop producing and selling Confederate flags, Reuters reports.
Online retail giant eBay released the following statement regarding its decision:
eBay is a global marketplace and community and we continually monitor the approximately 800 million items on our site, and evaluate our policies to ensure they are consistent with our core purpose. We have decided to prohibit Confederate flags, and many items containing this image, because we believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. This decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and racial intolerance.
Nine people were killed in last week's shooting. The tragedy prompted a nationwide conversation about race and the continued use of the Confederate flag in many Southern states. On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag to be removed from the statehouse grounds, noting that it was viewed as a "deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past."
Update: Google says it will "remove content containing the Confederate flag from Google Shopping and Ads." The Confederate flag is "generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group" and therefore violates Google's Ads policies, the company says.
Online retailer Newegg is also removing Confederate flag merchandise from its website. A Newegg spokesperson offers the following statement to Engadget: "Newegg doesn't sell items featuring the Confederate flag. Additionally, we will remove all items incorporating Confederate flag imagery from our seller marketplace. The process of removal is already underway and is expected to be completed within the next 24 hours."
[Image credit: eBay Inc.]