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Forty-three disability groups call on Amazon to take action over discriminatory t-shirts
Forty-three Down’s syndrome and learning-disability groups, including the Down’s syndrome Association and Mencap, have this weekend published an open letter calling on Amazon to take steps to halt, once and for all, the sale of t-shirts on their platform which carry messages, such as ‘Let’s make Down syndrome extinct’, referring to this as hate crime.
The letter says:
“We hope to see Amazon helping the Down’s syndrome community stand against hate crime. We would like to work with you on this and sincerely hope we hear from you soon regarding the matter of tightening up your policies”
Last week, Cristina Bowman of the Diff-Ability Cumbrian Community group organised a Change.org petition to alert Amazon to the problem which has already amassed almost 57,000 signatures.
Since then, the petition has received newspaper, TV and radio media attention. Heidi Carter, a prolific Down’s syndrome activist, was asked by the BBC how she felt about the t-shirts with the offending messages and said: ‘I would say that I feel very offended and very upset and when I first found out I was nearly crying my eyes out”
Now, people like her and their supporters have been campaigning because they believe that it’s only right that as well as being responsive to complaints, Amazon has to take preventative action.
The open letter to Amazon, calls on the commercial giant to take action to recognise that diversity should extend to those with a learning disability, ensuring that they are respected as a part of an inclusive society. To include this group in the Amazon discrimination policy would go some way to addressing that problem.
Lynn Murray of Don’t Screen Us Out said:
“Our supporters, people with Down’s syndrome and their families, have been offended by the ongoing availability of t-shirts calling for people with Down’s syndrome effectively to be screened-out of society.
Nevertheless, we’ve been blown away by the support from the public and the media.
My own daughter Rachel calls these t-shirts ‘nasty’.
We understand that not everyone realises that people with Down’s syndrome and their families are happy with their lives. This community is trying to shake off an old stereotype that Down’s syndrome screening programmes have failed to tackle.
If Amazon were to change their discrimination policy to include protection for people with disabilities this would go some way to help improve the profile of this minority group. We are also calling on Amazon to make a guarantee to our community that they will ensure that they will never sell any product in the future that discriminates against our community.”
For interviews contact:
Lynn Murray, Spokeswoman, Phone: (0044) 1313340133, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Don’t Screen Us Out campaign, see our website www.dontscreenusout.org.
Open Letter – https://dontscreenusout.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Amazon-open-letter.pdf
Change.org Petition https://www.change.org/p/amazon-ban-amazon-sellers-inciting-down-syndrome-hate-speech
Heidi Carter BBC interview https://youtu.be/vv62egsArYo
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/ConventionRightsPersonsWithDisabilities.aspx#5