Amazon and Teespring have both removed shirts with the phrases "stand back" and "stand by" after President Donald Trump made a comment using the phrase about white supremacists during Tuesday's debate with former Vice President Joe Biden. The Proud Boys, who are considered a hate group, took the phrase as encouragement, and members quickly produced shirt designs with it. During the debate, Trump refused to clearly denounce white supremacists. On Wednesday, Trump claimed to not be aware of who the Proud Boys are.
Shirts with "stand back" and "stand by" designs quickly popped up on Amazon and Teespring, a site that allows users to create their own shirt designs. After screenshots of the shirts went viral on Twitter, Amazon removed them. "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question have been removed," a company spokesman told CBS News.
Teespring removed similar designs. "It has come to our attention that content promoting hate and violence has been circulating on Teespring," the site said. "We have no interest in profiting off hate or violence, and in this case, we immediately removed the designs as they violate our policies."
This was not the first time Amazon had to pull items related to white supremacists or Nazi imagery. The internet retail giant does not allow sellers to list items that "promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group. This includes products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item."
During Tuesday's debate, Wallace asked Trump if he was willing to condemn "white supremacists and militia groups" just as the president has repeatedly demanded Biden denounce Antifa and left-wing groups. "Sure, I’m prepared to do it. I would say - I would say, almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing," Trump said. "I'm willing to do anything I want to see peace." Wallace then asked Trump to clearly denounce white supremacists. Trump asked Wallace to "give me a name," so Wallace suggested the Proud Boys.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said. "But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."0comments
On Wednesday, Trump said he did not know who the Proud Boys are. "I mean, you'll have to give me a definition. 'Cause I really don't know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work. Law enforcement will do the work," Trump said, reports CBS News. Trump was asked about white supremacy again. "I've always denounced any form of that," he replied.
The Proud Boys are designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and was founded during the 2016 presidential election by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes. The group is known for Islamaphobic and misogynistic language, and describes its members as "Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world," notes CNN. McInnes sued the SPLC for defamation after the organization listed the Proud Boys as a hate group.