There is an internal uproar at Amazon right now with a number of company employees incensed over the decision by the tech giant to keep a controversial transgender book in its marketplace. It’s been an ongoing issue for the company, something that has caused strife, confusion, and employee dissent for the last few months. And now, it’s been reported that at least two Amazon employees have resigned in protest over the decision.
The book in question is Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier. Amazon employees have argued that the transgender book frames this issue as a mental illness and have argued the book actually isn’t in accordance with Amazon compliance rules regarding the topic. Back in April, an internal petition was circulated and had close to 500 signatures calling for the removal of the book from the marketplace.
But by June, the transgender book was still being sold by Amazon, prompting employees to begin leaving in resignation, feeling their voice wasn’t being heard on the matter and the company wasn’t acting in accordance with the company’s own policy. Specifically, Amazon has a policy in place that states they won’t sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identities as the product of mental illness. In this complaint, employees are arguing, for starters, the word “craze“ in the title does just that. There have been other passages taken from the transgender book that appear to frame the issue in the form of mental issue as well. A number of Amazon employees feel like this clearly violates the company policy.
Shrier has responded to the issues with Amazon saying that her book does not frame anything as a mental health problem. She has said that her transgender book supports rights for adults, making the distinction between what is happening within teenage social groups and choices among adults.
One of the Amazon employees who tender a resignation over the transgender book identifies as trans and told NBCNews that the company has simply gone “too far” in allowing this book to remain on the e-shelves. There was a reference to previous titles the company has pulled that appeared to have similar messaging to this latest one with few being able to see the distinction. Amazon has responded that they don’t believe the book violates the policy in place and reminded folks that they have had no problem pulling other books in the past.
An example of a transgender book Amazon pulled that dealt with transgender issues was Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It drew heavy criticism for labeling the issue as a mental health one, though Amazon did face backlash when they removed it from the shelves back in February. Anderson wrote a lengthy op-ed arguing he hadn’t framed the issue as a mental one, but rather a medical one and that should have kept it being sold by Amazon. But the decision was not reversed. What happens with this latest controversy remains to be seen. As of now, Shrier’s book is still being sold, but the tide could turn on that.