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Amazon Denies Nonprofits Access to the Amazon Smile Charitable Support Program for donations generated by their own supporters-
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Amazon Charitable Donations Program Uses Unreliable SPLC Censorship Lists
The Amazon Smile Charitable Support Program offers nonprofit organizations the opportunity to receive charitable donations from their own supporters who shop on Amazon, in the form of 1/2% of their purchases. According to TechCrunch, this program has raised over $100 million for nonprofits, based entirely on their supporters’ own purchases. But Amazon arbitrarily and without recourse excludes any organization on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s so-called “hate group” list from eligibility. This list is a political and fundraising tool that is unreliable, and has been the subject of numerous media reports, such as the New York Times, Politico, The Washington Post and Current Affairs, which calls SPLC “everything that’s wrong with Liberalism.” Our petition demands that Amazon end the use of SPLC data in making eligibility determinations, and restore peaceful organizations targeted by SPLC for ideological and fundraising reasons to the Amazon Smile Program.
SPLC Is a Political Advocacy Group that Calls its Political Opponents “Haters”
The Southern Poverty Law Center long-ago strayed far from its original mission of addressing violence and presently is wracked by scandals. SPLC recently fired its founder for unspecified wrongdoing, and its CEO was forced to step down. Many have described the culture inside SPLC as hypocritically racist, sexist and demoralizing. SPLC is guilty of the very things it claims to cure. Despite many calls for transparency, there has been no public accounting of the SPLC’s corruption.
Journalists, commentators from the right and left, and even former employees have long criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center for creating political divisions and inciting disputes through the creation and publication of a so-called “hate group” list that claims to show an ever increasing tide of extremist American organizations. In reality, SPLC targets ideological opponents by adding mainstream conservative and religious organizations to its “hate group” list, treating them the same as the KKK and American Nazi Party. Staffers have revealed that the primary motivation in doing so is to raise money by rousing fear among its donors. The SPLC lobbies financial and technology businesses to censor the speech and cut funding and banking services to all organizations on this list.
These deceptive tactics satisfy large progressive donors, leaving SPLC with $500 million in unused donated funds, over $100 million of which is hidden in offshore accounts. The SPLC has become dishonest, unreliable, and nothing more than a partisan political hit operation.
Yet Amazon Continues to Rely on SPLC Data, Even as Others Leave it Behind
Technology companies have begun to recognize the liabilities of working with SPLC. Twitter, for example, reportedly terminated its relationship with SPLC. Despite this, Amazon continues to use SPLC data and the so-called “hate group” list.
Amazon must stop using this list to determine eligibility for the Amazon Smile Charitable Support program. Every donation sent to nonprofits through this program is triggered by purchases made by the nonprofit’s own supporters, not from any decision made by Amazon.
The SPLC List Amazon Supports is Really Just a Fraudulent Fundraising Tool
Numerous former employees and journalists have reported that the SPLC’s so-called “hate group” list is not a principled database but was conceived and created as a cynical fundraising tool. Former employees have described how the now-terminated SPLC founder developed the list to generate large donations from “gullible northern liberals.” The lack of research or rationale for many organizations on the list, other than being deemed undesirable by the SPLC and its politically active, wealthy donors, has caused it to rightly be called an “outright fraud” and “willful deception.”
By dishonestly redefining “hate” to include the social and religious beliefs of mainstream conservative organizations with which it disagrees, SPLC creates the false narrative that the number of hate groups is rising dramatically. By instilling this unfounded fear among its loyal supporters, SPLC is able to demand larger donations. Each year new targets of the hate label are found among peaceful mainstream organizations to elevate the self-generated crisis. And with the help of corporations like Amazon, who accept their demands, SPLC can show their politically driven donors that they are successful in redefining and suppressing speech SPLC and their donors find objectionable. Amazon’s participation in this scheme, even if unwitting, adds credence to the SPLC sham.
Amazon Must Stop Using SPLC Lists To Harass Peaceful Conservative Nonprofits
It is regrettable that Amazon has played a part in this corrupt speech suppression effort by using the SPLC’s lists in determining eligibility for the Amazon Smile program. Today, however, there is no legitimate reason for Amazon to continue its reliance on the SPLC’s fundraising propaganda.
Petition for Amazon to Stop Economic Censorship of Conservative Nonprofits
WE, the undersigned, are Amazon Prime Members and Customers, Amazon Shareholders, and Amazon Small Business Partners.
WE ARE SUPPORTERS of benign politically conservative and religious nonprofit organizations.
WE HAVE OBSERVED, with distress, Amazon ban participation in the Amazon Smile Charitable Support Program solely because nonprofits are listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on their “hate list,” which is a partisan political fundraising tool perpetuated by an organization being wracked by multiple scandals.
WE HAVE NOTED that there is no way to appeal these arbitrary exclusion rulings by Amazon, and that SPLC has used Amazon decisions to further harm the nonprofit organizations so affected to accomplish their political objectives.
WE FIND this behavior to be contrary to fundamental American principles, and disrespectful of our business relationships with Amazon.
WE THEREFORE REQUEST that Amazon immediately cease the use of SPLC data and lists in making determinations about eligibility for the Amazon Smile program, and publicly announce this decision.
WE ALSO REQUEST that Amazon restore any nonprofit organization that was deemed ineligible by this list unless Amazon has a clear and compelling reason.