While I did not read it, I found the title of the book, The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct listed for sale on Amazon. com offensive. You probably do as well. Given the title, it’s a safe bet I would find the content offensive. I also find the fact that Facebook allows groups that deny the Holocaust on it’s site offensive. You may or may not. Many don’t. I find the current play of the Dallas Cowboys offensive. If you’re a Cowboys fan, I know you do.
I find many things over a wide spectrum of content and speech offensive. It’s human nature. It is also human nature for people to disagree on what constitutes offensive content. Call me crazy but I suspect there are those who are not pedophiles and who also do not find the book in question offensive. It can be difficult for companies like Facebook and Amazon to strike a balance in such content when it is not in itself illegal and when they claim to emulate free speech values in the content they allow on the site.
That being said, I find it offensive that Amazon would publicly state a “free speech platform” in defense of the pedophilia book and then bow to consumer pressure and threats of boycotts removing the book in blatant contravention of that statement. Assuming that Amazon removed the book and not the author, I find the hypocrisy offensive. This was about money, not morals. This was about being on the brink of their biggest profit season of the year. If this was March, in my opinion, they cite that free speech policy and don’t pull the book. This was “shopping season censorship”. That’s fine. That’s their right. Amazon can arbitrarily remove whatever content they want regardless of their policies. I wish they would simply cite that right without reason and not pretend they emulate free speech values.
Amazon’s statement about the book when the controversy arose:
“It is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable,”
“Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions”.
Amazon has now pulled the book. From an “offensive” standpoint good for them. It was offensive. From a “what we just said about censorship and individual rights is bullshit” standpoint, it was also offensive. Shame on Amazon for pulling it. If they want to change their “free speech emulation” policy fine, change it and post it. Until then, spare us the hypocrisy when removing the book was really all about shopping season censorship…