Amazon, the online superstore, has its hands full supplying goods to a quarantined nation while protecting employees from COVID-19.
The behemoth still appears to have found the time to yank a documentary title off its service.
“Hoaxed,” the 2019 film savaging the current state of journalism, is no longer available for rental or digital purchase at Amazon.com. The DVD of the film, featuring rabble-rousing journalist Mike Cernovich, appeared to remain in stock after he Tweeted the news about “Hoaxed” to his followers.
The “Hoaxed” DVD is no longer available now, either.
“Amazon told us that ‘Hoaxed’s’ removal was not a technical issue but that they don’t have to give us any more specific reasons as to why they banned it,” Cernovich said via email.
The film’s co-director, Jon du Toit, confirmed Amazon’s removal.
“They pulled it without giving our distributor, Random Media, any warning,” du Toit said, adding that he’d been told by some who previously bought a digital copy of the film that they can no longer access the documentary.
The film finds Cernovich smiting modern journalists for promoting liberal narratives, ignoring news that matters to many citizens, and giving little attention to the truth. Among the unconventional talking heads assembled for the film – Jordan Peterson, “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, new media journalist Tim Pool, and InfoWars personality Alex Jones.
It’s possible Jones’ presence alone triggered Amazon’s decision. The conspiracy monger has been deplatformed by Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. “Hoaxed” paints him in a mostly positive light.
Cernovich has said he’s counseled Jones to tone down his shtick, but he included him in the film because he’s been ahead of the curve on some issues, like Big Tech invading our privacy.
Think Facebook and Amazon’s Alexa device, for starters.
Jones currently appears in “After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News,” but he’s framed as a villain, not a savvy pundit. The HBO documentary can currently be viewed via Amazon Prime’s HBO channel.
“Hoaxed” also shows Pool attempting to investigate Swedish police who allegedly avoid neighborhoods where violent Muslim immigrants flourish. Local police not so gently escort Pool from the area in question, and it’s all on video.
Cernovich’s team initially said it didn’t know what made Amazon memory hole their film. His website later posted a story saying the film’s critical coverage of Amazon’s $600 million CIA contract cost him a slot on the service.
Right-leaning artists often get their work booted from big tech platforms, though, often with little or no explanation.
YouTube routinely marks PragerU video lessons as “restricted,” which means they reach a significantly smaller audience. The clips aren’t profane or violent, and PragerU’s attorneys have unsuccessfully, to date, sued to reverse that policy.
Late last year, black libertarian film critic Jacob Smith got temporarily booted from Letterboxd.com, a site allowing members to post their reviews online. The site’s team said Smith had violated its community standards but couldn’t say in what way or how.
The site eventually restored four years’ worth of Smith’s reviews.
Conservative comedian Steve “Mudflap” McGrew spends much of his day in “Facebook jail,” and he often doesn’t know why. The platform says he’s run afoul of Facebook’s spamming features, but he claims he’s following the letter of the social media law.
“Hoaxed” is still available on other platforms, for now, including YouTube, Vimeo, and iTunes. The film shot to the number one spot on the latter’s documentary charts following Amazon’s banning.
Cernovich is right of center, but his film occasionally crosses the aisle to hammer home its points. It even features a member of the Black Lives Matter group. Plus, the film drew praise from at least one left-of-center viewer.
A self-described lifelong liberal cheered “Hoaxed” on Medium.com, including this prescient caveat.
“‘Hoaxed’ will go down as the most subversive documentary, perhaps film, of the current decade.”