Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

By November 10, 2010Opinion

Today was a sad day for freedom, for humanity and for shopping.  If you have not heard, a vile book was made available on Amazon called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure”.  I kid you not.  It makes me nauseous just to type those words on my blog, but I have spent the entire day searching the Internet and my heart for how to deal with this, in my opinion, atrocity.

I began the day thinking Amazon had missed something and would surely pull the Kindle book when they heard the voices of thousands of their loyal customers asking for it to be removed, reporting it as pornographic and promising to boycott the site if the book remained.

I was one of those voices.  I reported, called and spoke to a lovely woman, emailed and tweeted my feelings.

I read a wonderful blog post by Adam P. Knave that defended the rights we all have for free speech, which I am all for.  Read it – he makes good points in Banned?  Wait, What?! and he has responded to every single comment.  Thank you, Adam.  I do not want books banned that I disagree with.  I love our freedoms and support people’s right to write whatever the hell they want.   Gay porn – go at it.  It’s not my bag but hey – two consenting adults – it’s none of my business.  And it is not illegal.

In my mind this is illegal and fully promoting illegal acts.  Hideous acts against children.  Child Pornography is illegal.  It turns out this book is on some slippery slope that Amazon feels it must protect.  I received a form email from Amazon saying

Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.

Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable. Therefore, we’ll continue to make controversial works available in the United States and everywhere else, except where they’re prohibited by law. 

I get it.  I’m not for censorship.  But I am for corporate responsibility.  Amazon’s Digital publishing guidelines state that they have the right to judge whether content is appropriate and then explicitly state examples of prohibited content.

Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.

Offensive Material
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site.

Illegal Items
Titles sold through the Digital Text Platform Program must adhere to all applicable laws. Some Titles that may not be sold include any Titles which may lead to the production of an illegal item or illegal activity.

Hello Amazon, please abide by your own rules.  This book was downloaded by people with a stronger stomach than me and I found on Tech Cruch this repulsive excerpt from the first few pages.  They could not make it any further in this filthy manual.

When precautions are needed, however, standard condoms go a long way.  Unfortunately, they are much too big to fit boys younger than 13.  Luckily, there is a product that is identical to the adult condom, in almost every way, which will do the trick.  Latex finger coits, intended to protect finger cuts from becoming infected, can provide the same level of protection as the adult latex sheath.  They come in small, medium and large, one of which is sure to fit any child under thirteen. 

The book goes on to talk about how to use pinup pictures to masturbate or to think of children you have been with in the past, but warns that if you have these pictures up when the cops come you will be arrested if the children pictured are nude.

Are you kidding me?  Just this tiny paragraph is encouraging illegal acts, is pornographic in that it speaks of illicit sexual acts with children under age 13 and hey – what I would expect is that anything depicting sex with a child under the age of 13 is completely offensive.

Amazon has disappointed me and I feel like it is my duty to put my money where my mouth is given these days – it seems money is the only thing many companies hear. 

However, I am not only hurting Amazon by boycotting the site but all of the hundreds of thousands of businesses that make their living selling their products through the largest store in the world.  I hope they have reached out and expressed their displeasure.  I know that the storm of tweets and emails and anger will probably die down and that many of the voices screaming BOYCOTT! will go back to making purchases at Amazon and loving their free 2 day shipping.  Maybe all of the additional traffic to Amazon today to view just the cover of this monster has helped some businesses (God help you if your business comes up in the You Might Also Like Section though).  I don’t want to hurt companies trying to make  it an depending on Amazon for sales.

But my heart says this is not right.  I need to put my money where my big mouth is, and I have a right to do that.

At the end of this long day, I still stand against Amazon and will not make purchases from them.  I may still purchase directly from sellers but nor from Amazon.  I do not know how this affects anything but I do not want to hurt people trying to make a living who had no say in this.  I honestly believe that Amazon has a responsibility to their customers and to the businesses that rely on their services to stand by their content policies and remove the work.  It is not censorship – they are not the government. I am not asking for it to be burned, although if I had a copy I would certainly burn it.  I am simply stating that they should exercise their right not to sell this horrible book.

So, did you make a decision?  Where do you stand?  Is this censorship and a case of free speech or should this giant company choose to remove the book under their own stated rules? 

You know where I come out.

It’s always on the side of kids.

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • Carol says:

    There are no words for how horrible this is. I will NEVER buy anything from Amazon again. I am ashamed that I live in a society that not only promotes hurting children but will allow you publish a book to tell other people how to do this and get away with it.
    Carol recently posted… Halloween is my favorite!My Profile

  • Milehimama says:

    This is not about book banning or free speech. Amazon is not a government or a publicly funded enterprise- they are a private corporate citizen and they are CHOOSING to profit from pedophilia. They have removed content promoting rape before – but they won’t take THIS down? Shameful.

    You can see my correspondence and thoughts here:

    • Brittany says:

      Yes, I know. I have been commenting away on blogs that are defending free speech because this is not what the issue is. I’m all for free speech! Amazon has a corporate repsonsibility! I read your comments and thought…hey I had the same day of correspondence with Amazon. I hope they take this book down because they care about kids and they value their customers and businesses who depend on the online giant.

  • Boycott Amazon NOW says:

    […] Amazon.com is selling a Pedophilia Guide, read what one blogger wrote about it here, it’s author lives in Pueblo, Colorado. Galleycat wrote about it here. TechCrunch wrote about it here. Another blogger shared more details (gross) here. […]

  • I’m in utter disgust. I’ve read this on several blogs I followed and have seen the storm on twitter as well. It’s really horrible.

  • Cari S. says:

    As the popular saying goes – “Your rights end where mine begin.” I think it fits this perfectly. I respect the freedom of speech, but NOT when it involves possible harm to my child, or anyone else’s. Amazon, by selling this, is essentially promoting it and saying it’s okay. At a loss for words, otherwise.

  • Jen says:

    Freedom of speech is one thing, breaking the law, and harming innocent children is another. I suppose Amazon should start marketing books on how to build bombs, make methamphetamine, an other atrocities. Thanks to Amazon, I have more thing to keep me awake at night worried about my kids. Gross. Thanks for blogging about this and raising awareness!

    I am proud to be your LUCKY pal! 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    I am absolutely sick to my stomach after reading this. I am in total agreement with you. This crosses the line, no argument. I don’t even know what else to say.

  • nina says:

    Wow! Really? This is so irresponsible, gross….I can’t even come up with the words. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    nina recently posted… A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve BuntingMy Profile

  • Well said. I am truly disgusted by this as well. Will NOT be shopping from there anymore.
    Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation recently posted… Where TV Sitcoms Become One With My LifeMy Profile

  • Theta Mom says:

    I applaud you for bringing this to light for those who may have missed it. I cannot find the right words to express my sheer anger and disgust. This situation is so appauling to say the least. And to think it’s coming from the *biggest* online retailer, who at this point is standing behind this book, makes it even more sickening and speaks volumes. #amazonfail

  • I was going to post about this on Facebook, and when I went to Amazon to verify the book was available, I cannot access the book. I’m hopeful this means they are working to remove it, and not a system glitch. Maybe all the attention has made them rethink their position.

  • I saw this on Twitter yesterday and also tweeted re: boycotting. I really hate when people shout “BOYCOTT” for little reason but to me, this is one HUGE reason. I could see people’s point about censorship (even though I disagreed but what he’s describing is ILLEGAL) but after reading that excerpt, I don’t see how anyone says Amazon should sell it. Glad to see it’s been pulled (the link isn’t active so that’s what I’m assuming, anyway).
    Melissa {adventuroo} recently posted… My Biggest Giveaway Ever! Hi-Tec Chukka Boots &amp Sunlight Peak JacketMy Profile

  • Amy says:

    Damn. I just bought something from amazon. Will not buy anything there again.

  • Amy says:

    Also, I couldn’t agree more that this has nothing to do with freedom of speech—this is essentially child pornography and is promoting a crime against humanity. Shame on amazon.

  • Amy says:

    I just sent this:

    I have recently learned through a mommy blog that you are selling a pedophilia manual. I urge you to stop. This is child porn and promotes a hate crime. Do not hide behind freedom of speech. Your own policy is this:

    Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.

    Offensive Material
    What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site.

    Illegal Items
    Titles sold through the Digital Text Platform Program must adhere to all applicable laws. Some Titles that may not be sold include any Titles which may lead to the production of an illegal item or illegal activity.

    This must be taken down. In the meantime, I will be writing about it on my blog, on facebook, and on a very large mommy meetup group asking all mothers to ban amazon. We will not buy our holiday presents for our children at a site that deals in this nastiness.

    Deeply Disgusted,

  • marcy says:

    This truly makes me sick. Amazon did make a concious decision to sell this trash but it goes beyond that for me this book had to have started at a publishing company. Who in there right mind would allow a book like this to even be published. Maybe they need to be boycotted!!

  • Loukia says:

    I just wrote a long blog post about this today, too – I was horrified when I saw this book being sold on Amazon.com – thankful that it wasn’t on Amazon.ca. I think that I probably wouldn’t have ‘banned’ Amazon per say, but then again, I never shop there anyway. Great post, friend. I was so sickened by this book and how it was on their site for so long.

  • Rose says:

    Just to let you know, according to CBC Canada news, today…Amazon has pulled the book off the shelves.
    They still haven’t released a statement, but my guess is…money talks. Especially this time of year.
    They can’t afford to have a boycott.

  • This disturbs me to my core. Even if it was cenroship, which I am not for, I still feel like this needs to come down. It is crossing a line with an illegal act, an illegal act against children. I am sick.
    Sue Robinson recently posted… Happiness in ParentingMy Profile

  • Melissa says:

    The book has been pulled. http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/amazon-removes-pedophile-book/blacklisted/

    I guess I don’t see the point in boycotting a business that listens to complaints, but that’s just me.

  • This was so well written and my sentiments exactly. I don’t usually jump aboard things right away either but I am pro child safety and advocacy. This is clearly promoting illegal activity against children. It’s a separate issue from censorship which Amazon was initially hiding behind.

    So glad they pulled it. Thank you for all your efforts and for really making a difference. You said this all better than I ever could.
    Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) recently posted… Theta Mom RocksMy Profile

  • SuperJenn says:

    So I saw all of this going on this week…and I chose to sit and watch the dust settle. I did not post any sales for amazon… I did not post any comments of my own. I had private discussions with friends and bloggers on email tossing around ideas of censorship vs rights of protection…. nothing quite as eloquent as what you have posted here.

    Now that the book has come down…. I’m starting to look around a little more. I’ve not read any excerpts until I saw the one here. I literally threw up a little and my eyes are full of tears. Simply my biggest fear in life. Larger than that of losing a child.

    Well written. I’m thoroughly impressed with the rational and definitiveness that you put to your words.

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