A reader says that he designed a pro-life bumper sticker through Zazzle a few years ago, made an order, and received them in the mail. He recently tried to order more stickers, and yesterday received this notice (I have obscured his name):
For the record, I think Zazzle should have the right to turn this business down. I’m not like one of those “Bake the cake, bigot” liberals. This is clearly a matter of artistic expression; Zazzle is only exercising its right not to participate in messaging with which it disagrees.
Why did the reader’s “UNBORN LIVES MATTER” bumper sticker conflict with Zazzle’s content guidelines? Here, from Zazzle’s website, are those guidelines:
To ensure that Zazzle continues to be enjoyed by everyone, we have a few rules that we ask for everyone to abide by. The following content is not permitted at Zazzle:
- No text or images that infringe on any intellectual property rights including, but not limited to copyrights, trademarks and rights of privacy/publicity
- No text or images of obscenity, pornography or nudity that is not artistic in nature
- No text or images that encourage or glorify drug use/abuse
- No excessive violence
- No content that is libelous or defamatory
- No content that can reasonably be viewed as harassing, threatening, or otherwise harmful
- No hate speech
- No content that can reasonably be viewed as discriminatory based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability
- No content that violates or encourages anyone else to violate any law
Any products that are deemed unacceptable by the rules above, or deemed offensive or in bad taste at the sole judgment of Zazzle, will be canceled and removed from the Marketplace with or without notice.
It is impossible to see how the text violates any of those enumerated guidelines. The only option left is that Zazzle decision makers deemed it “offensive or in bad taste.”
This is how censorship is going to express itself in the new regime: gatekeepers will decide with unusual, even punitive, vigilance what can and cannot be said — and therefore, what can and cannot be heard.
This week, Target removed from its shelves Irreversible Damage, Abigail Shrier’s important book about how the transgender phenomenon exploits anxious teenage girls, after a single pro-trans tweet went out:
Fortunately, Target restored the book after others complained. But this just goes to show you how Woke Capitalism reacts. From PJ Media:
Shortly after the release of Irreversible Damage this past summer, Amazon refused to let the publisher, Regnery Publishing, pay to promote the book.
In the book, Wall Street Journal writer Abigail Shrier builds on a scientific study revealing the “social contagion” of transgender identity affecting a broad swath of American teenage girls and warns that various transgender “treatments” will leave girls permanently scarred.
Among other things, it warns about chest binders (meant to hide a girl’s feminine upper-body features), which may lead to “fractured or bruised ribs, punctured or collapsed lungs, shortness of breath, back pain, and deformation of the breast tissue.” This is the least invasive kind of transgender “treatment” for teenage girls. Drugs like Lupron (meant to “block” puberty) and testosterone cause more damage, and various forms of transgender surgery are even worse.
Yet Amazon sent Regnery an email warning that the book “contains elements that may not be appropriate for all audiences, which may include ad copy/book content that infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation. Hence, this campaign will not be allowed to be advertised.”
Ironically, the book warns that many teenage girls who are attracted to other women — lesbians — are particularly vulnerable to transgender ideology, which convinces them that they are “really” boys, and hence no longer lesbian. While pro-transgender content may convince young women to “question sexual orientation” in this fashion, Shrier’s book urges them not to do so.
Regnery noted that “if you search ‘transgender’ in the books category on the Amazon app right now, you will see a paid ad for LGBT pride month from a prominent publisher and a paid ad for a chest binder. Amazon has told us we are not even allowed to bid on that ad space for ‘Irreversible Damage.’”
I expect we will hear exactly nothing from the same liberals that screamed bloody murder over Masterpiece Cakeshop’s wish not to make a cake for a gay wedding.
Don’t get lost in whataboutism in these cases. It’s not going to do any good. This is not about principle, but power. At the same time, understand that because this is not about principle, expect that corporations will become even more censorious against the expression of any opinion that violates woke orthodoxy. This is how the Pink Police State works: people will happily throw away important First Amendment liberties for the sake of being protected from even the possibility of having to be confronted with a thought that causes them anxiety.
The reader who tried but failed to reprint the pro-life bumper sticker he designed lives in southern California. He said he is buying copies of Live Not By Lies for all his friends and family. He adds:
I must tell you, many, many pastors and church leaders are waaaaaay behind the curve on this threat. For most, especially here in California, it’s business as usual. Not a peep from the pulpit. I grieve at how little real discipleship is going on in churches, and how adolescent most congregations are.