Nov
10

This morning I was checking out the latest chatter on twitter and came across a couple of disturbing tweets, like this:
and this:

So I clicked on the link and found this:

The product description reads (written by the author): “This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught.”

Let me translate this: HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL TIPS TO HELP YOU RAPE CHILDREN.

Over the next hour, the topic “went viral” on twitter. People started posting on facebook. Everyone was “retweeting” and “posting” and saying “boycott Amazon.” Check the twitter stream for #amazonfail and you can watch it implode in real time. (for you non-twitter geeks, go to twitter.com – go to the search box and type #amazonfail and you’ll get it)

One mom I talk with frequently on twitter was so upset, she was in tears. Two of her children are victims of sexual abuse.
I picked up the phone and called amazon.com. The people I talked to were very considerate and listened to my concerns. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt — hoping they would pull down the book once they realized how angry people were (of course the fact it’s up there to begin with is a problem).

I warned them that a twitter swarm was happening and that they would likely be on CNN before the end of the day. The man I talked with sounded concerned, he promised to update me. And he did call me back within an hour to tell me that all the right people were working on it to determine if it fits their guidelines and if it could come down or not.

The book listing allows reviews from readers. I left one. It was deleted promptly. So were more than 100 others. As quickly as people were posting comments, they were taken down. I’m told that authors of books have the right to delete comments. Either way, it’s awful.

I then called the corporate offices and left a message for the media relations folks, following up with an e-mail asking them if they would continue to sell this book, despite the nature of the contents and the public outcry. I heard back from them this afternoon with their official response (CLICK TO ENLARGE):

I was surprised… I had hoped they would do the right thing. I just placed an order with amazon.com YESTERDAY – I am an active customer of theirs. I’m not anymore.

I have a personal policy of not slamming companies on twitter or facebook – complaining about long lines or bad customer service reps is usually not productive.

But today I revoke that policy. I am ANGRY. As a mother, as a woman, as a customer. I am MAD.

Another twitter link pointed me to this article from 2002 where Amazon defended the sale of a controversial book called “Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers” They are still selling this book, people.
To say I’m sick to my stomach is an understatement.
MSNBC is covering the story here: Amazon defends “Pedophile’s Guide”

You can call Amazon to voice your opinion 1-866-216-1072, reference the ASIN# : B0049U4CF6.
You can also choose not to buy from them. Your call.
I will continue to post updates on my facebook page and twitter.

***UPDATE*** As of a few minutes after 10 p.m. CST, the page on Amazon for the book in question is down. — at 10:30 p.m. it is back up. Perhaps it crashed from people all around the country looking for it.
Anderson Cooper covered it on CNN today (see clip) and had Dr. Phil on as a guest this evening.
***THURSDAY UPDATE — The book was pulled down from amazon.com earlier today, however as of 4 p.m. CST there has been no official announcement from amazon.com.
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31 Responses to “Amazon sells pedophile book, moms get mad”

 
  1. Robin says:

    Well said. I stopped using Amazon a while ago for much more benign reasons (lack of control of their shopowners who went shopping with my credit card) but this seals the deal. Good. Grief.

  2. EDH says:

    I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but I am torn. I hope it goes without saying that of course, I find the idea of that book absolutely abhorrent. However, I think I would need to know more about the contents of the book to decide whether I think it falls under First Amendment protection. If it isn't a how-to manual, and isn't instructing people on how to commit a crime, and it's just expressing the so-called "positive side of pedophilia" (can't believe I just typed that), then… I believe free speech covers it.

    I am guessing there are other books on Amazon that are just as vile… neo-Nazi/anti-Semitic stuff is just one category that comes to mind. No one is up in arms about Amazon selling that junk, are they? Even if we abhor the contents of books sometimes, and would never buy them or let our children buy them, and they go against everything we stand for – free speech is precious. I still believe that.

    I work every day as an advocate for children. That is my job. It is also my calling as a parent. I hope that no one would ever question my commitment to children's safety and happiness, both at home and at work. However, I'm not going to pass judgment on Amazon for not censoring this book – yet. I'd like to know more about what's in it first.

  3. EDH says:

    P.S. Missy, it's ironic the author would delete your review since he is apparently against the very concept of free speech that is protecting his right to sell his book on Amazon. Ugh.

  4. Jo says:

    Yes! Thank you for contacting the media. I was going to look into it as soon as I was done with work today. Glad you are on it!!

  5. Amber says:

    I must have been living under a rock, because this is the first I heard of it.

    I just removed my Amazon affiliate links from my website. And I will not be doing any holiday shopping with Amazon.

    There are limits to free speech, and this is well over that line. It is promoting criminal activity, and I consider that criminal, itself.

  6. The Marketing Mama says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone. Here's the deal – does the 1st amendment right allow people to print garbage? YES. Does the 1st amendment right allow amazon.com to sell garbage? YES.

    Does this how-to manual for pedophiles fit with the amazon.com brand? Will their customers tolerate it or will they walk away?

    I'm walking away.

  7. AmethJera says:

    The author and Amazon can hide behind the Constitution if they want to- it's still a crime to have sex with children. It's still morally abhorrent to be involved in this kind of activity-which promotes child abuse and violence- and Amazon will understand this when they loose profits over this debacle. They've even gone so far as to try to put a spin on this book saying that it's "satire", to cover up that fact that they're selling it. KEEP COMPLAINING TO AMAZON, KEEP POSING YOUR OUTRAGE ANYWHERE YOU CAN.

  8. EDH says:

    Again, for me it comes down to the content of the book. If it is indeed a how-to manual and promotes criminal activity, that’s clearly over the line. But if it isn’t, then you could also say it is part of the Amazon brand to facilitate free speech. And I would hope that those who do choose to boycott don’t view a decision not to boycott as condoning pedophilia. OF COURSE NOT. Just as I am not pro-Nazi but have ordered from Amazon even though I bet you anything they sell books condoning Hitler’s Germany. I just think it’s not quite that black and white.

  9. Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud says:

    First ammendment or not, I refuse to support a company that sells this kind of material. It's an outrage. Thanks for keeping us all updated on this.

    Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud
    @TweetingMama

  10. Mom for Less says:

    Thank you for helping call attention to this matter. I agree that Amazon absolutely has the right to sell this crap. But I have the right to take my business elsewhere. And I have the right to inform others of what Amazon is doing, and encourage them to do the same. Please keep us posted on your news interview,and what you hear from Amazon.

  11. Marketing Mommy says:

    Amazon sells all kinds of horrible literary materials (including the anti-Semitic creed "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"). There are racist books, homophobic books, bomb-making manuals, porn and plenty of other horrible titles their virtual "shelves," just as there are at many online and bricks and mortar booksellers.

    As horrific as this book appears to be, why are we up in arms about this book and not others? Book banning and threatening businesses with boycotts for not following a particular, popular agenda or creed has had dangerous precedent.

  12. Chelsea says:

    SO glad you made these contacts. I kept thinking that I would start seeing tweets about how they made the right choice and pulled it down.
    It. Is. Disgusting.

  13. simplicity says:

    This is very sickening. I am in shock over Amazon.com's response and will NOT be shopping there any longer. (Which is sad because I had an order I was going to place. Not anymore!)

  14. Mamastemama says:

    Free speech is precious to me too, but my children are more so. I have no doubt the author has a right to write this guidebook for pedophiles in the hopes that if they do get caught, they will receive lighter sentences. (Shudder.) I have no doubt that Amazon has the right to sell the book. I also understand I have a right to protest Amazon’s choice to do so which I will exercise because it crosses that line for me. Free speech does not mean without personal discernment or concern for any harm that may be inflicted on others because of what is being promoted. What if there are enough of these manuals to merit their own section of the bookstore. How comfortable would we be with free speech of that volume on the topic of guidebooks for rapists, pedophiles, and murderers. I do not see free speech as anything goes. With freedom comes the responsibility of discernment. Sex with children is illegal. A book that promotes it is hate speech.

  15. Mama Morticia says:

    So many things bother me about this situation.

    1) The recent push by amazon to purchase family / mommy based brands & still choose to promote books like this ( and other that have been the subject of debate over the years).

    2) the treatment of concerned people by Amazon

    3) the violation by Amazon of its own TOS

    4) the author's blurb that includes "with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."" "Get caught" indicates an activity that is punishable by at least some standard.

    5) There was a huge push to remove bomb making books from online / brick and mortar stores after 9/11. Some of the uproarious behavior reflects on what is happening in the news at the time ( Elizabeth Smart ring a bell ?) Yes, people are guilty of taking up an issue when it's "popular" and then falling off the bandwagon. But that doesn't render the issues resolved or suddenly acceptable. It's the people that stay on the bandwagon that make the difference. sadly, these are the ones that don't get as much attention as the ones who get the bandwagon rolling.

    I don't usually comment on blogs, but just some random thoughts from me. :))

    @mama_morticia

  16. Suchada @ Mama Eve says:

    @EDH . . . I'm having a hard time with this too. I'm sure there's plenty more offensive content on Amazon, but that doesn't mean I (or anyone else) has to buy it. Kindle is an interesting format, because people can self-publish and get it out there.

    But @Mama Morticia . . . there's a difference between Amazon carrying the book and promoting it. I'm kind of curious how this originated in the first place . . . why would you come across this unless you were looking for pedophilic material anyway? And I'm not about to do a search and see what else appears.

    As a blogger, I rely on the Amazon Affiliate program for revenue, and as far as I know there's not another bookseller that's comparable. I also live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere . . . and I rely on Amazon for items I can't get here (or can't get here for a reasonable price). And to avoid shopping at Walmart, which is the only store in town. (Really, I know it's hard to believe, but it's true).

    So I'm struggling. I need to think for a bit before I decide what to do. 🙁

  17. Mamastemama says:

    From the Amazon.com website: "Content Guidelines:Items sold on Amazon.com must follow our content policy and guidelines, detailed below. Producers or sellers of items are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that the items created to be sold on Amazon.com are in compliance with all local, state, national, and international laws. If Amazon.com determines that the content of an item is prohibited, we may summarily remove or alter it without returning any fees the listing has incurred.

    Amazon.com reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate.

    Offensive material. What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. This includes items such as crime-scene photos or human organs and body parts. Amazon.com reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of items sold on our site. Also, be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities. Some items may be acceptable in one country, but unacceptable in another. Please keep in mind our global community of customers"

    Amazon, maybe you should keep in mind your global community of customers in regard to the Guidebook for Pedophiles. It is culturally insensitive to me as a member of the global Amazon community, and the human community.

  18. jen says:

    makes me ill.
    yep. i'll be walking away too.
    there is absolutely NO doubt about that.
    i can also make a choice to not promote something that i feel is inappropriate.
    and i absolutely feel that what amazon is selling in this case is inappropriate at best.

  19. Keith Privette says:

    I am a dad of young children and I am completely appalled that we as American companies have allowed investors, profits and political correctness cloud our judgement of what is right or wrong. This is wrong on so many levels and hiding behind the 1st amendment is cowardly. Now image the outcry of public support for Amazon for getting sued by the author for infringing on their 1st amendment rights. That would be the social media & traditional media positive viral affect. Wish companies would take better social actions.

    This really surprises me about Amazon's leadership.

    Thanks Missy for taking constructive action to help potentially resolve the issue!

  20. Marie Porter says:

    I am sick over Amazon's actions today. I can't even… I can't even wrap my head around it. I can't believe someone would WRITE that crap… but to CHOOSE to profit off it, as a third party? I worry for the state of society.

    I have been in the process of preparing my recent cookbook to be sold in a Kindle edition. It may be a very small move on my part, but I will not be continuing with it. I refuse to allow Amazon to make any more money of me, whether as a – VERY LOYAL – customer, or author.

    I feel so betrayed. My husband and I LOVE Amazon. I feel like we just found out that someone close to us is a predatory monster.

  21. Marie Porter says:

    By the way – and I'll probably get flamed for this – I do NOT agree with "Free Speech", as everyone seems to apply it.

    I'm Canadian, as we don't have "freedom of speech", as Americans do. We have hate speech laws, though. You know what? I think that things work so much better that way.

    Sure, we're free to say whatever we want – until it crosses over into inciting hate/violence against others. There is no such thing as pure freedom – one's freedom ends where another person's begins. I wish more people would realize/live by that.

    This case is an excellent example of why freedom of speech is NOT free. I value the rights of children, to grow up unmolested… over the rights of some sick person to promote pedophilia under "free speech".

    Laws against hate speech and how-to pedophile books? Yes, please!

  22. Connie says:

    Amazon just lost another good customer. I am incredibly disheartened but not surprised, that once again, the "all mighty" dollar is more important than the integrity of a business.

  23. Travis says:

    I'm conflicted as well.
    This is interesting situation regarding an appalling topic. In my limited understanding, I don't believe this situation has anything to do with "free speech" or the 1st Amendment. The whole free speech/1st Amend. thing has to do strictly with the fact the gov't can't suppress speech as long as it falls under certain guidelines (like falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater). Thus the idiot author has a right to publish/sell the book (if its legal). Amazon as a private company has a right to distribute the material (if its legal). And consumers have the right to not buy or not patronage stores selling the material.

    That said, I in no way support the author. I personally don't believe Amazon should make it available, but it is within their right to do so. For Amazon as for media in general, censorship is a slippery slope. First they stop selling this book, then they stop selling a pro-Nazi book, then a group wants them to stop selling Catch in the Rye. At first it seems obvious which books to ban, but it becomes cloudier.

    However as with all corporations, if it costs them money they will reconsider. In order to do so, upset consumers need to take quick action as the news cycle is short and this topic will quickly fall off the radar.
    If consumers wish to send their message they need a clear, consistent and very well organized message and boycott. Amazon doesn't care about 10,000 tweets or 500 phone calls. It might be bad PR, but Americans forget very quickly these days. Amazon would care about 100,000 buyers boycotting the holiday season. So if you are planning on boycotting, you need to tell them you are doing so to do any good.

  24. Lorrie says:

    Well, the CEO of Amazon can tattoo the First Amendment on his chest and have it as a watermark on the shareholder's statements, but I can also exercise my rights not to patronize a business that is selling a book written by a pervert.

    Buh-bye Amazon! There are other bookstores out there.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Folks, please understand what you are saying before you post.

    Private companies can censor things from their product offerings, and I think people calling for Amazon to censor this book shouldn’t pretend that’s not what they’re asking for. I think saying “censorship is always bad” and then redefining something that exactly meets the definition of censorship to be something else is not being intellectually honest. I don’t know why people can’t bring themselves to say, “Yes, this book is so despicable that in this situation I think censoring it is appropriate.”

    The government vs. non-government distinction has nothing to do with censorship. The distinction there is first amendment rights. The first amendment only applies to the government, so companies can’t violate first amendment rights by censoring people. They can (and do) still censor people though.

  26. Andrea says:

    Yep me too. I'm done. As a survivor and a mother I'll never shop any of their companies again. They may have pulled this title but they still carry others that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Crimes against children should not be protected under free speech!

  27. gr33n3y3gal says:

    I'm absolutely against pedophilia, however I'm also against censorship. I DO NOT agree with the content of the book. But should Amazon sell it? Of course they should. The problem with censorship is where do you draw the line? Who draws that line? I sure don't want Amazon of all people policing the content that I have access to purchasing.

    Last month it was Walmart. Everyone was pissed off that Walmart was selling a childrens book that was anti-gay. Do I agree with the message? Hell no! I have a hard time not 'accidentally' rear ending cars when I see those damn yellow Prop 8 bumper stickers. But do I think that Walmart should sell that book? Of course they should. I whole heartedly support people's freedom to purchase this book.

    Pedophilia? Absolutely deplorable. Anti-gay? Sucks. Censorship? Bullshit!

    I don't want Amazon, Walmart or any other corporation or government body policing the content that I have access to.

    And that is exactly what the beauty of the internet you love is, practically uncensored content.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Dear gr33n3y3gal,

    I see your point but the difference between pedophilia and anti-gay is this…..pedophilia is against the law….being anti-gay is not against the law. I've never seen Wal-Mart sell a book on how to steal a car (which is also against the law). So a book of that content should not be sold as far as I'm concerned!

  29. gr33n3y3gal says:

    Anonymous- I think you actually bring up a great point. Pedophilia is against the law. Stealing cars is against the law. However! Publishing content that discusses these illegal activities is NOT.

    I just did a quick search and found a bunch of books on home bomb making. It is absolutely legal to write, publish, distribute and purchase these books. But if I make a bomb and blow someone up, then I have committed a very serious crime. People commit crimes not books.

    If it's your opinion that books of this content should not be sold. That is your opinion and you have every right to that opinion.

    I still say that I don't want any corporation or government body policing the content that I have access to. Censorship is scary.

  30. Anonymous says:

    PLEASE. You can dish out the freedom of speech argument all you want people, but not one of you has the insight to think a little more critically about what you're saying. This persons freedom of speech is a THREAT to the freedom of children to live without fear of RAPE. So why is the pedophile's freedom more important than that of a child? A how-to book which THIS BOOK IS on how to sexually violate a child, is a THREAT to the freedom of ALL children because it promotes pedophilia.

    Freedom of speech MY ASS.

  31. JenPB says:

    Great pointers for all agencies that deal with the media – that is, every company, every public agency, even certain private individuals in the public eye.

    There's another problem with this story, though. While I'm (pretty much) all for free speech, I'm not for "speech" which incites violence or leads to other illegal, hurtful, hateful activity. While Amazon took down the pedophile book, they still maintain countless titles that promote illegal activity (search "meth recipes" for starters).

    The idea of Amazon is great for Amazon, but their money-at-all-costs attitude isn't worth the convenience. Oh, and the deal to sellers? Totally not a deal.

 

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