Amazon is pulling Confederate flag merchandise from its site

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The Inc. Prime logo is displayed on a computer screen for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 24. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Daniel Acker — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) will be banning sales of the Confederate flag and related merchandise, following the lead of other major retailers, according to Reuters.

The move comes in the wake of last week’s shootings at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine dead. Public anger over the massacre has evolved into calls to completely retire the Confederate flag that the shooting suspect apparently revered.

On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she supports removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. And Walmart (WMT), K-Mart, and Sears (S), three of the country’s largest retailers, have moved to ban Confederate flag merchandise from their stores.

Earlier, eBay (EBAY) said it would ban Confederate flag-themed items from its site, saying the flag had become a “contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.” Online craft site Etsy (ETSY) also said it will pull flag-related items.

Sales of Confederate flag-related items were lately spiking on Amazon, up as much as 3,620% by early afternoon Tuesday. In the Patio, Lawn and Garden section of the site, Confederate flags populated the top five spots for items with the fastest growing demand. A 3×5 foot Confederate flag was the fifth best-selling item in the category, ranking behind a thermometer, grill brush, and insect repellants.

But even as sales skyrocketed for the items, the comments left in the review section for each item indicated that plenty of Amazon users don’t support the sale of the flag. “I was disappointed with the quality of this item,” one commenter said. “It felt quite rough and wouldn’t flush properly.”

Many executives of companies that don’t trade in Confederate flags, such as Tim Cook of Apple, or Marc Benioff of Salesforce (CRM), have expressed support for removing the flag from the South Carolina capitol. And, according to Reuters, a prominent flag maker, Valley Forge Flag, has also decided to stop manufacturing and selling the battle flag.

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