Auction Site eBay Confirms It Is ‘Monitoring’ For Illicit Dr. Seuss Book Sales
lose-up of the eBay logo featured on the packing tape securing a large cardboard shipping box in San Ramon, California, USA, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Internet auction site eBay confirmed, Thursday, that it is scouring its open auctions for six “canceled” Dr. Seuss titles, reviewing seller profiles, and removing the listings, which the site claims violate its “offensive materials policy.”

On Thursday morning, the Daily Wire reported that eBay sellers who had listed copies of six Dr. Seuss titles marked at “racist” and “offensive” and removed from publication by Dr. Seuss Enterprises — “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”; “If I Ran the Zoo”; “McElligot’s Pool”; “On Beyond Zebra!”; “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” — were receiving messages that they were no longer allowed to sell the books.

According to an eBay seller who received a message from the auction site’s standards and practices department about a removed listing, eBay is taking down the Dr. Seuss auctions because they violate the company’s “offensive materials policy” which bans the sale of items that “promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination.”

We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed.

What activity didn’t follow the policy[:]

Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped the publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities. As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account. Please review our Offensive Materials Policy prohibits this item for more information.

What you need to do next.

You can’t relist items we’ve ended. Please ensure your current and future listings follow this policy.

The “offensive materials” policy states that:

Listings that promote, perpetuate or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination, including on the grounds of race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation, aren’t allowed.”

Among those banned items, are “[i]tems with racist, anti-Semitic, or otherwise demeaning portrayals, for example through caricatures or other exaggerated features, including figurines, cartoons, housewares, historical advertisements, and golliwogs.”

On Thursday afternoon, the company confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that they were taking action to remove the offending Dr. Seuss titles.

“Online marketplace eBay Inc. said it is working to prevent the resale of six Dr. Seuss books that were pulled earlier this week by the company in charge of the late author’s works because they contain offensive imagery,” the WSJ noted.

“eBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” a spokeswoman for the company reportedly told the outlet in an email.

“Hundreds of listings for the six books could be found on the platform as of Thursday morning, though the number appeared to be lower than it was on Wednesday evening,” the WSJ noted. “The eBay spokeswoman said it would take some time to review seller listings and that the company was monitoring newly published listings.”

As the Daily Wire pointed out earlier Thursday, the site still has copies of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf” for sale, though the book clearly runs afoul of the site’s offensive materials policy. There is also a listing for a copy of Disney’s “Song of the South,” an early animated feature that the company has largely pulled from publication over concerns similar to those of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

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