OpenDemocracy, a non-governmental organisation, found over 40 anti-LGBTQ+ organisations have been fundraising via Amazon’s Smile programme, despite the company’s anti-discrimination policies. Smile enables customers to donate to charities as they shop; Amazon says it has facilitated $215 m in donations since its launch in 2013. The programme’s participation agreement states that eligible charities cannot “engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”
OpenDemocracy’s research found many groups using Smile had intervened in numerous international court cases opposing same-sex marriage, adoption and anti-discrimination laws. One group also claimed same-sex relations “opens the door to the demonic realm” and legalising same-sex marriage “enforces a demonically driven, immoral agenda”. Another described the Covid-19 pandemic as the “the consequential wrath of God” and punishment for sins including society’s “proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality”.
In response to findings, LGBTQ+ advocacy group, ILGA, said Amazon should remove these groups from its platform immediately. Evelyne Paradis, executive director of 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.”
Amazon has not yet stated if it will remove the anti-LGBTQ+ groups. A spokesperson responded to the situation by reiterating the company policies: “Charitable organisations must meet the requirements outlined in our participation agreement to be eligible for AmazonSmile. Organistions that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible.”