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Keep Calm and Rape.
How could you feel if your daughter introduced you to her new boyfriend, she’s crazy about him – he’s the one. He’s wearing a t-shirt with Keep Calm and Rape in big letters on the front. How likely are you to feel that he was the one for your daughter, that she’d be safe with him?
Last night Nickie O’Hara posted on Facebook and her blog about the Keep Calm and Rape T-Shirts sold by a company called Solid Gold Bomb. They [SGB] allege that the t-shirts were computer generated and as soon as they found out, they removed them. Nice. A computer script that generates slogans for T-shirts and you have absolutely no idea what slogans it creates… But it’s okay so long as you are making money, it’s all good.
With a company the size of Amazon you’d think that there were some safeguards in place. Some sort of quality checking system, just in case companies (like Solid Gold Bomb) have no control over the products they create. Apparently not. But ultimately, they are the publishers of the site and the buck stops with them.
Last night my friend Kimberly Castleberry rang Amazon in the US to ask about this, as Amazon in the UK were closed. It was past midnight here and the outrage had been raging on Twitter for some time. Even the Daily Mail managed to get an article out at 00.25 this morning but in the UK we had to wait for Amazon UK to wake up as there was nothing that Amazon US could do (allegedly) about these products.
Our friend and Bird on the Blog contributor, Anita Hunt felt that the T-shirts broke the law. So this morning I had quite a to-do list – email Amazon boss Christopher North, email the police… express my outrage some more and encourage other women to make their thoughts known to Amazon on the viability of stocking products advocating rape.
But others had beaten me to it…
Obviously they have no idea what they are selling on Amazon, they’re probably selling on eBay and Craig’s List too, they seem an enterprising bunch. And if Keep Calm and Rape is offensive and has to be withdrawn perhaps Keep Calm and Hit Her will slip under the radar? Seriously, hours after the Keep Calm and Rape fiasco and they allege they withdrew the items from sale, but they keep this item available. Is hitting women likely to be less offensive than raping them?
Of course, SGB seem incapable of removing controversial words from their computer script and to be fair who’d heard of them before yesterday? How much will they be grovelling and apologising? Well they’ve closed their Twitter and Facebook accounts down, unlike Amazon they seem to realise the impact of their actions, but not enough to withdraw “Keep Calm and Hit Her”.
According to Sky this morning SGB said they withdrew the items as they were offensive in the UK. Does that mean women elsewhere are okay advertising rape? Did anyone think to ask them, as I think you’ll find that women everywhere (and a huge amount of men) are against rape. (Article source here). No doubt SGB are licking their wounds in a Hooters Bar somewhere grousing about all these Brits trying to put them out of business.
Better quality controls would be a start. Acknowledging that they are working on better product filters would be a step in the right direction, ones that automatically require approval from a human being for words like Rape etc on items of clothing.
As Amazon cannot manage to pay tax in the UK, it’s our taxpayers that will have to foot the bill for the lapse of judgement. Cheers, thanks.
To the women all over the world, as it’s not just the UK ones that have an aversion to rape.
And then you can start making some donations to some Domestic Violence causes. In the UK you can start with Refuge. They need all the help they can get. There’s a lot you can do as you can’t be bothered to have basic quality checks in place, but they all cost more than employing someone to make sure your products are suitable for sale.