Over the past year and a half, products have vanished from store shelves left and right. Items like toilet paper and cleaning wipes were hoarded amid the pandemic, while liquor and various food products have been increasingly hard to find due to supply chain issues. Some retailers, on the other hand, have chosen to take certain items off of shelves themselves following controversy. Department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom banned animal fur products after decades of protests, while grocery stores like Kroger and Costco have banned the sale of Chaokoh coconut milk over allegations that the company uses cruel practices against monkeys. Now, several major retailers have pulled something else from stores after being sent letters of protest. Read on to find out what you will no longer be able to buy from Target, Barnes&Noble, and other major retailers.
Several retailers came under fire for selling books that have been said to promote Holocaust denial.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a Jewish human rights organization, sent protest letters to major retailers like Target and Barnes&Noble on Oct. 15 over the sale of books they say promote Holocaust denial, the Algemeiner Journal, a newspaper covering Jewish and Israel-related news, reported. The books include Not Guilty At Nuremberg, as well as three German-language books: The Auschwitz Myth–Legend or Reality, A Censorship is Taking Place, and What is Truth.
"We assume these large online booksellers do not mass-market books promoting terrorism or pedophilia. At a time of surging anti-Semitic hate crimes here in the US, it is beyond the pale that a book would be marketed by someone who insults the memory of 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide," Abraham Cooper, the associate dean and global social action director for SWC, said in a statement.
Target and Barnes&Noble have since pulled the books from their shelves.
Both Target and Barnes&Noble are no longer selling these four books as of Oct. 26, according to the SWC. "We appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns about this book," Target said in response to the organization's letter of protest. "It's never our intention to offend our guests with the merchandise we carry. Please know that we have removed this book from our assortment."
Barnes and Noble also responded after it removed the books. "As soon as we are made aware of any such offending titles, we take prompt action to remove offending titles in accordance with our policy, as we did with Not Guilty at Nuremberg," the nationwide book retailer said. "We had not been aware of this title's existence on barnesandnoble.com. Upon receipt of your correspondence, in accordance with our content policy, we immediately removed it from our website. We also alerted Lightning Source, who have assured us that they also have deleted this title from their books for sale."
SWC has also reached out to other retailers selling these books.
Target and Barnes&Noble were not the only retailers carrying these books, however. SWC says it has also reached out to the heads of other large booksellers, including Walmart, over the sale of these books. While Walmart has not given a statement on the removal of these books, when clicking the link for the English version of Not Guilty at Nuremberg, there is now an error page on the retailer's website instead. Versions of this title in other languages are still up for sale on the website as of Oct. 26, however, as well as several of Porter's other books.
"The Simon Wiesenthal Center will continue to demand that such hateful anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying books, still marketed online by other companies, are also removed," the organization stated.
This is not the first time SWC has pushed back against antisemitism.
SWC has worked for years to push back against antisemitism from many U.S. companies and online. In 2011, the organization successfully pushed ESPN into removing antisemitic leagues from their online Fantasy Football leagues. And in 2020, SWC fought to get social-media platforms to remove viral posts promoting antisemitism and violence against Jewish people. According to its website, the SWC is "a Jewish global human rights organization researching the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context."