'The Man in the High Castle' .
(photo credit: PR)
Amazon is removing its Nazi-symbol-laden ads for “The Man in the High Castle” television show from a highly trafficked New York subway line.
A spokesman for New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority confirmed to Gothamist on Tuesday that Amazon was pulling the wraparound advertisements featuring a modified Nazi Reichsadler eagle and a variation of a World War II-era Japanese flag from the 42nd Street shuttle.
Earlier in the day, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “While these ads technically may be within MTA guidelines, they’re irresponsible and offensive to World War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers. Amazon should take them down.”
“The Man in the High Castle,” based on a 1962 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, depicts an alternate history of the world in which the Nazis won World War II and partitioned the United States into new areas.
MTA instituted a policy in April that bans political ads from its subways and buses. Under the resolution, MTA permits only the display of commercial advertising, public service announcements and government messages on its buses and subways.
The Amazon ads do not violate this policy, an MTA spokesman told The Gothamist, which first reported the ad campaign.
“The updated standards prohibit political advertisements. Unless you’re saying that you believe Amazon is advocating for a Nazi takeover of the United States, then it meets the standards. They’re advertising a show,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told The Gothamist.
Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s New York regional director, called the ads insensitive, according to The Gothamist.
“Half the seats in my car had Nazi insignias inside an American flag, while the other half had the Japanese flag in a style like the World War II design,” commuter Ann Toback, executive director of The Workman’s Circle, a Jewish organization, told The Gothamist. “So I had a choice, and I chose to sit on the Nazi insignia because I really didn’t want to stare at it. I shouldn’t have to sit staring at a Nazi insignia on my way to work.”
The advertising campaign published by Amazon ahead of the show depicted New York City in full Nazi garb, including the Statue of Liberty performing the Nazi solute. To complete the campaign, Amazon purchased additional advertising space on the New York City Subway, covering the train cars in Nazi-like symbols from top to bottom.
Passengers on the 42nd street shuttle, which runs between Grand Central Station and Times Square, took to Twitter with their complaints suggesting the ad campaign was "creepy" and in poor taste. Riders criticized the choice saying, "I think draping your subway in Nazi paraphernalia and calling it advertising is a bad decision." Others put the blame on the MTA for allowing the advertising campaign to go forward. "An entire train of nazi imagery: totally chill with MTA," tweeted a traveler. Users accused both Amazon and the MTA of promoting Nazi ideology and anti-Semitic feelings with the ad campaign.