Some Amazon employees in Seattle staged a protest at the company’s Pride Flag raising ceremony due to their frustration over the continued sale of “transphobic” books, including “Johnny the Walrus” by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.
About 30 employees draped themselves in transgender pride flags and laid on the ground at the ceremony. Footage from the event shows security attempting to disrupt the protest, but the employees refused to leave.
I’m at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, where about 30 Amazon employees are staging a die-in during Amazon’s Pride Flag raising ceremony in protest of the company’s continued sale of what they say are transphobic books. pic.twitter.com/Pz0Pyy0Mzi
— Katherine Long (@_katya_long) June 1, 2022
The demonstrators are part of the internal employee activist group No Hate at Amazon. A speech from the flag-raising described their reasons for protesting, which were rooted in Amazon allegedly “spreading a culture of hatred through the sale of transphobic books, promoting and profiting off content that advocates for the abuse of transgender children.”
The group further called the Pride Flag raising ceremony a “PR stunt” that was “blatant rainbow-washing” all while the retailer continued to sell “content that aids and encourages the psychological abuse of transgender children.”
“There is a direct line between the hateful transphobic rhetoric Amazon is profiting from, the unprecedented anti-trans legislation across the United States, and the violent and often deadly physical attacks so many of our community face,” the open letter continued. “2021 saw the most murders of transgender people in recorded history. Overwhelmingly, these victims are Black trans women and trans women of color.”
No Hate at Amazon cited specific titles that inspired them to stage the “die-in,” including Abigail Shrier’s “Irreversible Damage” and the children’s book “Johnny the Walrus.”
The letter references a video of two Amazon employees co-hosting an internal meeting discussing the book’s success, calling it a “bad faith … abuse of Amazon’s systems.” It claimed that Walsh is “taking advantage of Amazon and how the Amazon algorithms work to promote their particular brand of hate and harm.”
The speech says of the incident: “Can you imagine the fear of transgender employees at seeing their coworkers’ identities plastered over conservative media? At seeing the names of fellow employees handed to a transphobic internet mob, wondering if they would be doxxed next?”
It goes on to lament how “Johnny the Walrus” became the best-selling book on Amazon.
“Walsh used the publicity from this attack to get his book to number one on Amazon. Let me repeat that. The number one book across all of Amazon. Top of our charts,” it says.
“In Walsh’s own words, this effectively made him the bestselling author in the country. Amazon rewarded him for this harassment with enormous sales. Money he will use to keep spreading hate. This is f***king embarrassing. Everyone who let this happen should be embarrassed and ashamed.”
The speech also mentions Walsh’s new documentary, “What Is a Woman?” and their fear over its release, which happened June 1 despite a “sustained DDoS attack” meant to “disrupt” the premiere of the movie.
They call out Amazon for accepting pre-orders for the book by the same name. “Matt Walsh is not some random transphobe on the internet. This man is a serial abuser who has openly attacked our coworkers and our customers, and it will happen again if Amazon does not act.”
Finally, the speech insists the employees of the group are not “radicals” and that 600 employees signed a petition to get the “anti-trans” content removed. Per GeekWire, the company employs 1.6 million people worldwide and 1.1 million in the US as of the end of 2021.
Amazon previously stopped selling the book “When Harry Became Sally” in March 2021 because it described “LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness,” WaPo reported.