Amazon CEO Andy Jassy Will Continue Selling The Film Kyrie Irving Got Suspended For | So Why Isn’t Amazon Canceled?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: Andy Jassy on stage at the 2022 New York Times DealBook on November 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New York Times)

The CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy, said the company does not plan to stop selling the polarizing film that Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out controversially.

Amazon CEO Says Company Won’t Stop Selling ‘Hebrews To Negroes’

On Wednesday, at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit in New York City, Jassy revealed the difficulty for the company to determine the line in commercial sales of what content shouldn’t be available to its massive customer base.

“As a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with a lot of different viewpoints, we have to allow access to those viewpoints, even if they are objectionable — objectionable and they differ from our particular viewpoints,” Jassy said, per the Times.

The pressure mounted on Kyrie Irving for sharing a link to the documentary, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” With the film’s availability to Amazon customers and the backlash experienced by Kyrie and the film itself, the ire of the world has conveniently escaped Amazon as a digital distributor of the content.

Kyrie Irving Carries Brunt Of Backlash For Film

The weight of the film’s premise has rested at the feet of Kyrie’s interest in it, sans context, but not at the major corporation that is making money from it.

“The reality is that we have very expansive customer reviews,” Jassy continued. “For books that have a lot of attention — and a lot of public attention like this — customers do a pretty good job of warning people when there’s objectionable content.”

The statement reeks of a pass-the-buck mentality on behalf of Amazon, which never spoke out in defense of Kyrie sharing one of the products on their global marketplace. The messenger in Kyrie versus the merchant in Amazon dichotomy is also a flex of power. Amazon has not experienced any boycotting or major protests as Kyrie experienced online and on the sidelines.

Last month, several fans wore “Fight Antisemitism” shirts while sitting courtside at a Monday night basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center. Additionally, the Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 3 after he didn’t apologize in a way accepted by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. However, Irving returned to the game after issuing an apology more than two weeks later. The incident cost him eight games.

Brooklyn also required Irving to complete a six-step program to be considered for reinstatement.

He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group,” Silver told The New York Times. “Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

Double Standard On The Issue 

Silver never directed that same energy to Amazon, which posted and distributed the “hateful content,” to this day.

Ironically, the incident showed the selective anger of the powers that be and the media, which en masse did not pressure Amazon to stop selling content that is considered anti-Semitic.

“Jeff Bezos, you’re supposed to be a better man than that,” Sports analyst Stephen A. Smith said on his show “First Take” as the rare voice in the media. “Get rid of that. Get that off your platform, please, since all of this noise is being made. Why, because he’s worth billions? And he owns Amazon, so we’re not going to say anything about him, but we’re going rake Kyrie Irving through the coals?

“You’re just providing validation to the level of frustration Black people in America feel time and time again. You’re holding us to different standards. It’s never fair to us. And this is the latest example, and it’s sickening.”

As Amazon continues to profit from what costs Kyrie income and brand currency, the disparities in treatment for Black athletes have never been more glaring than now.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.