Amazon Asking Regulators To Block Shareholder Request On Hate Speech


Amazon has called upon federal regulators to try and shoot down shareholder proposals regarding hate speech and diversity in hiring, among other issues, the Associated Press reported.

If these proposals were to go forward and approved, some of them would require Amazon to report on its policies to curb hate speech, promote racial and gender diversity in hiring, include more workforce representation on corporate boards, and the company’s surveillance technology, according to the Associated Press. But, if Amazon’s request is granted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the shareholders’ proposals would not be voted on by shareholders later this year, according to The Seattle Times.

Last year, seven of the nine shareholder proposals brought forward were excluded by Amazon upon allowance from the SEC. The SEC has not said whether they have plans to grant Amazon’s wishes this time, the Associated Press reported.

The practice is fairly common for companies dealing with unsavory shareholder proposals, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: Big Business Supports A $15 Minimum Wage For 1 Simple Reason)

The Nathan Cummings Foundation, a social-justice oriented Jewish organization, brought forth the shareholder proposal last month, saying Amazon should provide a report on the company’s “efforts to address hate speech and the sale or promotion of offensive products throughout its businesses,” the Associated Press reported.

The foundation claims that “Amazon’s algorithm for product searches proactively directs customers who search for white supremacist content to additional extremist content” when searching for books, music, videos and DVDs, according to the Associated Press.

Amazon may face criticism either way the SEC rules, given it will have shareholders vote on what some believe to be censorship, or prevent the proposal’s proponents from checking the company’s practices, according to the Associated Press.

Amazon released new guidelines for books and similar materials sold on the online retailer in order to ban “offensive content” Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

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