Following the recent announcement that Amazon has removed items deemed offensive to members of the Islamic Community, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) repeat their earlier calls that Amazon similarly remove items perpetuating defaming Irish stereotypes. In a letter to Amazon, Nation Anti-Defamation Chairman Neil Cosgrove writes:
“As an organization founded to combat religious and ethnic bigotry, the Hibernians applaud Amazon’s recent decision in response to the request of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to remove items deemed offensive to Muslim Americans; no one should profit from defaming any person’s heritage or religion. We are, however, perplexed that Amazon continues to ignore, similar earlier complaints made by the Hibernians concerning items offered for sale by Amazon which similarly denigrate people of Irish Heritage.
A search today of the Amazon site returns over 1,000 items that perpetuate the offensive defaming stereotype of conflating being Irish with drunk, 802 results are listed as “Prime Eligible.” A sampling of the items listed include:
- Irish “Surprise! I’m drunk” Shirt
- “St. Patrick Day Shirt Everyone Loves A Drunk Girl”
- Irish “Drunk-O-Meter” Shirt (a shirt depicting a gauge with progressively higher levels of intoxication, the maximum reading being “Irish”)
- “Kiss Me I’m Irish, Drunk or Whatever” Shirt
- And perhaps most despicably an “Irish I Were Drunk” Baby Cotton Long Sleeved Bodysuit
There is no benign interpretation of merchandise with the sentiment “I may not be Irish, but I can drink like one”
The Hibernians have repeatedly contacted Amazon concerning their sale of items such as these that perpetuate defaming stereotypes of Irish Americans and promote the dangerous practice of binge drinking; both of which would appear to be clear violations of Amazon’s sales guidelines. We cannot be as magnanimous as the CAIR spokesman who graciously attributed some of the offensive items they identified, and which Amazon pulled, to “companies just slapping (Islamic text) designs on everything without even thinking about it.” There is no benign interpretation of merchandise with the sentiment “I may not be Irish, but I can drink like one”; its defaming message is clear and overt. Items promoting denigrating Irish stereotypes should be pulled from Amazon in the same spirit of dignity and respect that Amazon has accorded other heritages.
The Hibernians request Amazon to halt the sale of items that denigrate Irish Americans. We note that Amazon actively promotes itself as a leader in 21st-century technology. It is, therefore, both ironic and inappropriate that it should still seek to profit from the discredited anti-Irish prejudices and stereotypes of the 19th century. “