Internet retailer Redbubble has been forced to apologize and pull several of its items for sale after customers pointed out that the skirts, tote bags, and throw pillows featured photos of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Redbubble bills itself as an artists’ marketplace, where independent retailers can peddle their original clothing, home decor, and fine art designs. Redbubble customers select an artist’s design, and their order is fulfilled through the site’s clearing house based in Australia. In some case, customers select an artist’s work and can then have that design printed on piece of clothing or item of home decor of their choosing.
On Tuesday, the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted at Redbubble about a handful of artist items available on the Redbubble site that featured iconic photos of the concentration and extermination camp, where 1.1 million people were killed by the Nazis before and during World War II.
“Do you really think that selling such products as pillows, mini skirts or tote bags with the images of Auschwitz – a place of enormous human tragedy where over 1,1 million people were murdered – is acceptable? This is rather disturbing and disrespectful,” the memorial tweeted.
.@redbubble Do you really think that selling such products as pillows, mini skirts or tote bags with the images of Auschwitz – a place of enormous human tragedy where over 1,1 million people were murdered – is acceptable? This is rather disturbing and disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/cdPvZGMXC6
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) May 7, 2019
The items included a miniskirt emblazoned with the horrifying image of the camp’s crematorium and smokestacks; a pillow with a shot of the camp’s iconic railroad tracks, where thousands of cattle cars full of Jewish prisoners were unloaded and processed, with many of the occupants sent straight to their deaths in the camp’s gas chambers; and a tote bag with a photo of a sign warning interlopers of the camp’s electrified fence.
Redbubble responded by acknowledging that the products did not meet their quality standards.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” the company tweeted. “The nature of this content is not acceptable and is not in line with our Community Guidelines.”
“We are taking immediate action to remove these and similar works available on these product types,” they continued, though they eschewed responsibility for the images, adding that their site “is the host of an online marketplace where independent users take responsibility for the images they upload.”
Redbubble, it seems, takes a hands-off approach to “controversial” material sold on its site. According to the site’s guidelines, the site’s administration “welcome[s] artists of all experience levels and walks of life,” and “Redbubble asks that you do not seek or engage with content you don’t agree with (no need for troublemaking).”
The Auschwitz Memorial acknowledged late Tuesday that the items had been removed, but the group made sure to point out a handful of other items on Redbubble’s site that show a lack of respect for victims of the Holocaust. Those items, Redbubble says, are under consideration.