Amazon faces backlash
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
10th November 2020
New Delhi: The e-commerce giant- Amazon.com Inc. faced a huge social media backlash for selling rugs and toilet seat covers with Hindu sacred symbols on its overseas website and for allegedly hurting 'Hindi sentiments'.
The office of e-commerce giant Amazon (Source- Reuters)
Twitter users started using #BoycottAmazon and made it one of the most trending Twitter topics in India. According to Reuters, users shared screenshots of Amazon products listings of doormats and underwear, which bore symbols, including the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha, and such other symbols that are believed to be sacred.
In a statement, Amazon has claimed to take down the product listings and added," All sellers must follow our selling guidelines, and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account."
Reuters stated sellers control several product listings on the Amazon website, and the company is not directly involved. However, such incidents tend to take a toll on global firms' reputation like this among the Indian audience.
Amazon had faced similar situations in the past when the company was found selling toilet seat covers and rugs with images of Hindu gods in them. Indians were infuriated and had taken to social media, asking the then foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, to take stringent action. Amazon's employees were threatened to have their visas rescinded by the Indian government if they did not remove the products. The incident made them take down all the products from their website but significantly affected their reputation.
India is a significant growth market for the company, where they have committed to spend more than INR 434 billion. The Print mentions how Gaurav Goel, a spokesperson for India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, took to Twitter talking about violation of religious sentiments and Section 295A (which says that any person deliberately and maliciously intended to outrage religious sentiment can be punished for a term prescribed or extended up to 3 years. As per reports from EasternEye, he also added, "Dear Indians, if your religious feelings have been hurt, register a complaint with cyber police or a local police station."
(Sources- Reuters, EasternEye, The Print)
Edited by- Arjun Rohit Vikraman