Despite policies against discrimination, over 40 anti-LGBTQI groups have been found fundraising via AmazonSmile 

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA INGE SNIP

A new investigation by openDemocracy has revealed that more than 40 anti-LGBTQI groups are fundraising on Amazon’s U.S. online donations platform AmazonSmile – despite the company’s policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

The AmazonSmile programme enables customers to donate to charities as they shop online and has raised $215 million since its launch in 2013. Human rights activists have called on Amazon to remove these groups from its platform immediately. 

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of the LGBTQI advocacy group ILGA-Europe, said: “Companies, if they really walk the talk, shouldn’t be giving their platform to organisations that are working to limit the rights of other people. It’s good that Amazon has a diversity of groups on its platform, but they shouldn’t be giving space to any organisation […] that is actively fuelling hatred and/or working against the rights of other people.” 

Robbie de Santos, Associate Director Of Campaigns And Communications at Stonewall also commented: “It’s disappointing to see organisations that campaign against LGBT equality platformed on AmazonSmile. We have raised our concerns with Amazon and will continue our work until every LGBT+ person is free to be themselves worldwide.”

This comes as Amazon has proudly advertised its partnership with Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme for inclusive workplace environments. 

openDemocracy presented AmazonSmile with the research that found more than 40 groups’ with anti-LGBTQI views were fundraising on the platform and asked if the company would investigate if they had broken their Participation Agreement. 

In response, an Amazon spokesperson reiterated its policy: “Charitable organisations must meet the requirements outlined in our participation agreement to be eligible for AmazonSmile. Organisations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible.” 

“If at any point an organisation violates this agreement, its eligibility will be revoked,” the spokesperson added, though they did not say if this will happen to the anti-LGBTQI groups in question.

It is still unclear how much money the anti-LGBTQI groups have raised from AmazonSmile donations online, as this information has not been provided by the groups or by Amazon. 

The full investigation by openDemocracy is available to view here. 

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