Amazon is re-classifying "gay" books as "adult" books (i.e., porn)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:56 AM GMT
    by John Aravosis AMERICABLOG.com

    "Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin is now porn because Baldwin was gay and the book has gay characters? Excuse me?

    This is one of those reports that is difficult to confirm. But I did check Giovanni's Room on Amazon, and in fact, Amazon no longer shows a "sales ranking" for it, just as the reports allege. And I just found out that the LA Times appears to have confirmed it:
    "American Psycho" is Bret Easton Ellis' story of a sadistic murderer. "Unfriendly Fire" is a well-reviewed empirical analysis of military policy. But it's "Unfriendly Fire" that does not have a sales rank -- which means it would not show up in Amazon's bestseller lists, even if it sold more copies than the Twilight series. In some cases, being de-ranked also means being removed from Amazon's search results.

    Other books virtually burned by Amazon for being gay, per the LA Times:
    Our research shows that these books have lost their ranking: "Running with Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs; "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel, "The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1" by Michel Foucault, "Bastard Out of Carolina" by Dorothy Allison (2005 Plume edition), "Little Birds: Erotica" by Anais Nin, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Jean-Dominque Bauby (1997 Knopf edition), "Maurice" by E.M. Forster (2005 W.W. Norton edition) and "Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette, which won the 1992 National Book Award.
    Michel Foucault, E.M. Forster, and Paul Monette are now porn brokers simply because they're gay, or their books have gay characters?

    I was going to wait to post this until tomorrow, but the story is flying around gay Internet users, so I'm posting this now. Amazon has a serious, and fast growing, problem on its hands.
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    Apr 13, 2009 2:26 AM GMT
    I have been purchasing more and more books through Powell's online and I very well may use them exclusively from now on.

    So come on children, give the largest independent book store some lovin'.
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    Apr 13, 2009 2:28 AM GMT
    I just read this in LATimes:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2009/04/amazon-deranks-gayfriendly-books-the-twitterverse-notices.html

    I think they'll have to address this before the week is out.
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    Apr 13, 2009 2:31 AM GMT
    One poster says:

    "Because the titles don't show up in the search engines, now if you type 'homosexuality' into the Amazon.com search engine the first book that comes up is A PARENT'S GUIDE TO PREVENTING HOMOSEXUALITY."

    I confirmed this, and the top selections are:
    A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality
    Homosexuality (fiction)
    Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Revised and Expanded Edition: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church
    For The Bible Tells Me So
    Can Homosexuality Be Healed?
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    Apr 13, 2009 3:04 AM GMT
    Apparently this has been going on since February, why is this just coming out in the media now?

    Absolutely disgusting!

    I found a petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy
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    Apr 13, 2009 3:31 AM GMT
    If this has been happening since February, like you say, then the media probably only caught on to this because of the whole "growing storm" controversy. I'd also argue that since the only things cited here are blogs that the story still hasn't reached many people's ears/eyes. It's very sad, indeed, and hopefully Amazon will correct the situation.
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    Apr 13, 2009 3:35 AM GMT
    We should all write to Amazon and ask them about this...

    I just called Amazon. The operator said that this is an unintentional de-ranking of the homosexual content books. Amazon doesnt know how this happened. they have received a lot of calls about this. They have a technical team working on it and it should be fixed within 24 to 48 hours. So by the end of 48 hours, we should be able to go in and search for books with homosexual content or dealing with homosexual issues... we'll see.

    You can reach Amazaon at 1-866-216-1072 (toll free) and get their automated customer service system. [Press 7 to talk to a live operator]

    International customers can reach us at 1-206-266-2992.

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    Apr 13, 2009 7:11 AM GMT
    they better fix it, cause I get all my books(school) from them. I'll check tomorrow again, if the ranking and searching have not been fixed for gay material Im not longer making any single purchase on that website.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10217715-93.html
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    Apr 13, 2009 7:18 AM GMT
    How on earth could that be "accidental?" Somebody had to put a lot of effort into doing that.
  • junknemesis

    Posts: 682

    Apr 13, 2009 7:31 AM GMT
    IN Amazon's defense it is slightly possible that someone within the company who has the ability and autority to do this (there are quite a few) has done this out of a personal issue with homosexuality. his person could have acted either alone or with a small group of co-workers who share the same views. This person, if they exist, would be fired by amazon for doing this and making the company look quite bad to a lot of valued consumers.

    So when they say it's an accident, they may just not know who made the alterations and rank strippings.

    HOWEVER that's only a theory. But I think it's possible.
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    Apr 13, 2009 7:38 AM GMT
    I have purchased everything from books to flatscreen tvs to kitty litter from Amazon. In fact, I normally don't purchase anything other than groceries unless I check to see if I can get it cheaper and with no tax/and or shipping on Amazon.

    If this is more than a "technical glitch", I am going to be both pissed off and depressed that I can't use them anymore.icon_mad.gif
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    Apr 13, 2009 7:47 AM GMT
    I guess some of you RJ members better learn how to read NOW!!!! LOL
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    Apr 13, 2009 7:56 AM GMT
    jprichva said
    Maverick75 said I guess some of you RJ members better learn how to read NOW!!!! LOL
    icon_lol.gif

    (Trying to figure out what this means.)


    I just blocked the brain dead sack of craps posts just now. I don't know why I didn't do it earlier. It feels kinda like taking a really big dump. Almost euphoric in a way.
  • Little_Spoon

    Posts: 1562

    Apr 13, 2009 7:56 AM GMT
    I'm going to get all lost now...

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  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 13, 2009 12:12 PM GMT
    This isn't an oversight ....
    To place "tags" to get to certain webpages and sites
    or in this case titles
    someone needs to transfer them in

    Was this a Blunder on their part? Yes
    Mainly because it exposes their latent homophobia
    more than their mere incompetence

    Every one of us needs to get in contact with them and tell them that until
    this is remedied we will no longer be shopping through Amazon.com
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    Apr 13, 2009 12:53 PM GMT
    And I used to think the guy who started Amazon actually READ books. Looks like he really did just sell them.
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    Apr 13, 2009 12:56 PM GMT
    I only ever bought porn on Amazon anyway...
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:10 PM GMT
    I find it inetersting that a book authored James Baldwin would end being classified as "adult material" and none of Anne Rice's novels. For instance.

    "Interview with a Vampire"
    "Vampire Lastat"

    Are you kidding me! Lestat, Armand Louie good lord totally gay!

    Giovanni Room is considered to be a literary classic! What a bone head!icon_evil.gif

    Well I have never ordered anhting from Amazon any way and prefer going to the book store and hanging out there.

    Boy I miss the Barnes & Nobels at the Grove in Los Angeles. I would hang out there every Saturday after breakfest @ Eat Well in Weho.
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:19 PM GMT
    They┬┤re banning Michel Foucault and E.M. Forster?

    Wow. Idiots.
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:22 PM GMT
    I just wrote to Amazon....Let's see what kind of response I get.

    Dear Amazon.com,

    I have learned via a website that I belong to that Amazon has de-ranked books with homosexual content or dealing with homosexual issues. This is a highly offensive action taken by Amazon.

    I am told by the Amazon operators that this is being worked technically to rectify the de-ranking.

    However, I understand from the discussions online that this de-ranking is not something that would occur easily. Some effort had to be put forth by somebody in Amazon to have this occur.

    Does Amazon plan on making any sort of explanation and apology to its gay and straight customers who are offended by this apparently intentional action by Amazon, or at least, by somebody in Amazon?

    I personally feel that some explanation and pubished apology is necessary. This offensive act didn't just happen. It was deliberately taken. After all, we can always go shop at Barnes and Noble or Powell's Books, which I had never heard of before, but is being talked about online now as an alternative to Amazon.

    Sincerely,

    David
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    I don't buy the "glitch" explanation at all. I was insulted by this new policy, and then insulted again by them calling it a glitch. It is obvious it was a decision made by someone on behalf of the company.

    I have already written them about this policy. When they replied about the "glitch", I told them I don't like being lied to and closed my account then and there.

    I prefer going to local independents and second-hand bookstores anyway.
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:45 PM GMT
    Nice letter Cas. I'll wait to see what happens in the next few days. But if they don't want my gay dollars then others will get them. Like GS I used them for everything I could and really likes the review section.
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    Apr 13, 2009 1:53 PM GMT
    You tell'em Caslon!
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    Apr 13, 2009 2:08 PM GMT
    Sounds like a glitch to me
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    Apr 13, 2009 2:12 PM GMT
    With all the sex and violence in it, they really should put the bible in the adult section.