Dirty Dozen List 2021 - Amazon

The Problem

Amazon, the world’s titan of e-commerce, logistics, data storage, and media, also peddles endless amounts of sexual exploitation. As a social media platform, Amazon’s Twitch is rife with sexual harassment, predatory grooming, and child sexual abuse. As an online retailer, Amazon is in the business of selling incest-themed porn, sex dolls, photography books with eroticized child nudity, pornographic magazines, and more. As a media creator, Amazon Prime Video inserts unnecessary, gratuitous nudity and simulated sex scenes into much of its original programming, while providing faulty parental controls. Amazon S3 and Amazon Web Services are also host to thousands of hardcore violent pornography and prostitution websites.

There is no doubt that Amazon is one of the most powerful companies in the world, not only influencing global economic markets, but also greatly influencing the goods we buy, the media we consume, and businesses small and large. Many maintain that the elite “FANG,” the major four tech companies Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, are dominating the world. As for Amazon’s part in this, its net sales revenue topped $135 billion in 2016. Forty-four percent of web shoppers go directly to Amazon for product searches. As a bookstore, Amazon has an estimated 3.4 million books for sale and over twenty-five million people use Amazon Instant Video and with their creation of original content, this is growing quickly.

While we applaud Amazon for 2020 improvements of removing full-body and childlike sex dolls and for finally rolling out parental controls for Prime Video, it continues to be an online marketplace rife with sexual exploitation.

We request the following improvements:

Prime Video Parental Controls

While Amazon rolled out major improvements for safety in Prime Video in 2020, we request Amazon address some of these remaining concerns:

  • These features do not work if you are accessing Prime Video from Xbox.
  • Kids can just move from profile to profile without a pin. (This was the same problem Netflix had and fixedthanks to our advocacy in 2020.) The only way around this is to have the strictest age restrictions on all profiles until Amazon fixes this. 
  • If you have downloaded mature rated content on any of your devices to watch when you’re not connected, it will be available to all profiles (read: to kids) no matter your settings.
  • Ironically, none of these features when set at the account owner level will work on Amazon’s own Fire TV, Fire Tablet, or Fire phone. Users will have to manually set parental controls for each of these systems separately, whichis just redundant and complicated for already overburdened caregivers. (Here’s how for Fire Tablet, for Fire TV, for Fire Phone.) 

 

Amazon Studios & Prime Video

  • Stop making films with gratuitous amounts of nudity and sexual violence. Unfortunately, a sample survey of third-party reviews of Amazon Prime original content shows that 66% of it contains nudity, 82% of which is female, and 36% of the surveyed Amazon Prime original shows contain simulated sex.

 

Amazon’s Twitch

  • Develop and implement lockable parental controls, so parents can monitor and streamline their child’s experience on Twitch and ensure basic safety is being met.
  • Develop more robust age-gating features to protect children on Twitch, including filtering and blocking streams with mature game ratings and/or themes.
  • Ban minor-aged accounts from sending or receiving money through Twitch’s donation and bits feature.
  • Disable the Whisper feature on minor-aged accounts.
  • Automatically default minor-aged accounts to the highest level of safety and privacy available on the Twitch platform.
  • Require, not suggest, that streamers provide mature content warnings on their channel if they broadcast content intended for adults.
  • Provide education to all users and parents on the potential harms and risks associated with exploitation and abuse on Twitch, and feature prominent reporting processes on all forms of Twitch’s interface.
  • Create and feature PSAs about safety on the Twitch platform.

Prime (Online Retailer)

  • Stop selling sexual exploitation and abuse. It unacceptable that you are selling sex trafficking how-to books, disembodied sex dolls, photography books with “eroticized” child nudity, incest- and racist-themed written pornography, pornographic magazines and DVDs, and misogynistic clothing items, and more.
  • Better ensure that items are categorized correctly so that sexually explicit content is not showing up in general, innocent searches.

Kindle & Publisher

  • Reject books with themes sexualizing and normalizing incest, racism, sex with children and teens, and extreme sexual violence.
  • Ensure “adult” books are actually tagged as “adult” and prohibited from surfacing in general search results as your policy seems to indicate should be happening.

Amazon Web Services

  • Refuse to host websites that facilitate the purchase of human beings for sex and abuse

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections.
POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Proof

Incest-Themed Written Pornography

Incest-Themed Written Pornography

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

While Amazon took strict measures to rid this popular e-book device of hardcore pornography and explicit erotica in previous years , thousands of self-published pornographic books are for sale and even included for free in the monthly subscription service KindleUnlimited. Searches by NCOSE yielded dozens of these books included in completely unrelated categories, and included themes of incest, child and teen, and rape. A search conducted by NCOSE of “Teen Books” yielded both e-books for toddler, as well as hardcore porn. Unfortunately, a 12-year-old girl did this same search.

January 2021, NCOSE Researchers reviewed the titles of the "top 100 paid" books in the "erotica" section of Amazon Kindle. 20-30% of the top recommended titles in the 18 subcategories of "erotica" were blatantly incest themed. A shortlist of titles is included here for example:

  • Forced by Step Daddy — Aroused Explicit Taboo Collection of 150 Hottest Filthy and Forbidden Adult Sex Stories
  • Mommy's Family — Anxious Filthy Taboo Erotica with Explicit Rough Adult Content Anthology Collection
  • Daddy’s Little Virgin Ganged by Big Forbidden Men: Taboo Older Ganging Younger Woman Adult Sex Story
  • Daddies Forced - Explicit Dirty Adult Taboo Erotica Collection

January 2021, searching "stepdaughter gifts" on Amazon.com continued to yield hundreds of incest-themed pornographic Kindle books.

September 27, 2019, searching "stepdaughter stepdad" on Amazon.com results in incest-themed pornographic Kindle books.

As of September 27, 2019, searching just "stepdaughter" on Amazon.com results in incest-themed pornographic Kindle books.

BBC: Girl, 12, finds porn on Amazon search for teenage books

A mother has demanded Amazon take action after her 12-year-old daughter accidently found sexually explicit material on its website.

She said her daughter had typed "free Kindle books for teenagers" into a search and results included titles like Being Bad and Bad Babysitter.

...read full article here

Daily Mail: Amazon sparks anger from parents after 'search for teen books for girls yields pornographic results'

Amazon has come under fire from parents after the search term 'teen books for girls' was found to yield pornographic content.

Grandmother Martha Welter, from Chicago, Illinois, told NBC she first raised the issue in November, after discovering the disturbing results while browsing the website for a book to give to her 12-year-old granddaughter.

...read full article here

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Examples of the thousands of titles available on Kindle, sold by Amazon Digital Services, LLC. Search done by NCOSE on 2/23/2016.

Amazon_Kindle_incest2 Amazon_Kindle_mix Amazon_Kindle_violence 3 Amazon_Kindle_young 2 Amazon_Kindle_young 1 Amazon_Kindle_incest Amazon_Kindle_violence 2 Amazon_Kindle_violence 1 Amazon_Kindle_porn 1

CBS News: Lust and elves: How 'low-brow' lit made e-books
(MoneyWatch) Smut has become popular fare on e-books, according to the New York Post. Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and other online sellers "are peddling a raft of raunchy online books depicting incest, rape and bestiality" following the success of "50 Shades of Grey."

...Read full article here

Amazon Prime Video & Original Content

Amazon Prime Video & Original Content

** We applaud Amazon's move in 2020 to finally implement parental control options for Prime Video. Learn about these much needed improvements and some of the remaining problems on our blog here. **

Amazon’s status as a sales and television giant is no secret, but what is less obvious is the complacency with which it treats video content and ratings.

Amazon Prime Video, a service offering unlimited television streaming to members, brings these shows directly into millions of American homes every day, many of them produced by Amazon itself. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos recently reported that Prime now has over 100 million subscribers. Unfortunately, Amazon often produces original programming portraying gratuitous nudity, graphic sexual acts, and even graphic depictions of sexual assault. Many of Amazon’s most popular and most heavily-advertised original shows are rated TV-MA (mature audiences only) frequently containing graphic sex scenes, nudity, and violence. Amazon contributes to a culture of toxic sexual pressure in the media industry by producing content that requires actors to do nude scenes.

Unfortunately, a sample survey of third-party reviews of Amazon Prime original content shows that 66% of it contains nudity, 82% of which is female, and 36% of the surveyed Amazon Prime original shows contain simulated sex.

In the age of #MeToo and the rising problems of male sexual entitlement to women’s bodies, producing such material is socially irresponsible.

We are calling on Amazon Studios to improve its parental controls so that they are more easily visible and accessible for parents and to consider policies to produce less sexually objectifying content.

While streaming can often provide hours of quality family entertainment, a recent analysis by NCOSE's team of 115 third-party reviews by Common Sense Media of TV shows exclusively owned by Amazon indicated that Amazon Studios has several problems:

Extensive Objectification and Exploitation of Women in Original Content

Though Amazon original content shows employ diverse themes, span through time and space, and explore various genres, they seem to have one common denominator—nudity. Amazon is clearly no stranger to the economic benefits of nudity in media, which they have included in 66% of their original series. That’s right, according to third-party reviews, two out of every three Amazon original series will at some point display nudity. What perhaps is most striking in this statistic is the blatant sexism that the referenced objectification follows. An astronomical 87% of cases incorporated female nudity, whereas male nudity was found in only 13%. This is a common trend in pornographic material, as objectification often disproportionately targets women.

amazon prime
Methods: This data represents a sample of reviews from Common Sense Media and not a detailed analysis of all Amazon content. Shows that were reported to contain both male and female nudity are represented in both the ‘male’ and ‘female’ sections. Many entries reported nudity but did not specify gender, and these entries were not included.

Ambiguous Ratings

The second observation made clear in Amazon-exclusive content was the complacent ambiguity with which Amazon treats its rating system.

Amazon patterns ratings for their shows after the TV Organization TV Parental Guides to create four rating categories—General, Family, Teen, and Mature. With the use of these categories, however, comes a crucial omission. TV Organization TV Parental Guides include content labels to warn parents of what may be included in the show. Recall the little black box in the corner of the screen of TV shows—a rating is posted, and underneath letters indicating content (for example, D for suggestive dialogue, V for violence, and S for sexual situations).

Amazon does not provide adequate content warnings. Not only this, but they provide no information whatsoever on their site regarding reasons for ratings. This means that a TV-MA series could feature anything from “crude or indecent language” to “explicit sexual activity”, but which of these actually exists on the show remains a mystery.

In other words, a parent approving a series for a teenage child will have no indication as to whether said child will be exposed to “indecent language” or a full-blown sex scene complete with extensive nudity.

The only option for parents in such a predicament would be to visit separate sites such as Common Sense Media to read reviews written by other parents; however, much of Amazon’s exclusive content cannot be found on such sites.

A sampling of Amazon Prime content that includes graphic sexual content:

  • When Night Is Falling originally received an NC-17 rating for its graphic sex scenes
  • Obsession (2015) has an unrated, sexually graphic version streaming on Amazon Prime
  • Bound (2015) is on Amazon Prime and often described as softcore porn by reviewers
  • The Handmaiden (2016) is on Amazon Prime and is unrated though the sex scenes would have required a NC-17 rating at minimum.
  • The Case of Unfaithful Klara (2009)
  • Come Undone (2010)
  • Extase (2009)

Plans to Expand Graphic Sexual Content

In 2017, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos mandated a programming shift at Amazon Studios: Bring me “Game of Thrones.”

They have moved towards just that. Amazon increasingly inserts gratuitous scenes of nudity and sexual violence in their Amazon Original content (and has a long trend of recommending those pieces right next to kids’ content).

Amazon might also be gearing up to hypersexualize the fantasy world of one of the 20th century’s most popular books among children and adults alike—with over 150 million copies sold in more than 35 languagesJ. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy seriesThe Lord of the Rings. 

Amazon Studios has issued casting calls for actors who “must be comfortable with nudity.” Furthermore, Amazon Studios has hired an “intimacy coordinator, a job described by SAG-AFTRA as “an advocate, a liaison between actors and production … in regard to nudity and simulated sex.” On top of all that, Amazon Studios has also brought on a consulting producer, Bryan Cogman, who formerly served as writer for HBO’s Game of Thrones where he helped develop some of the most grotesque rape and incest scenes in the series. 

More information here.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services

Amazon's Acceptable Use Policy essentially prohibits pornography as it says "obscene" material is not allowed and almost all mainstream pornography fits the definition of obscenity (which is illegal, but those laws are not enforced). However, it does little to enforce this policy, especially when it comes to websites hosting non-consensually recorded and/or shared intimate acts.

Offensive Content. Content that is defamatory, obscene, abusive, invasive of privacy, or otherwise objectionable, including content that constitutes child pornography, relates to bestiality, or depicts non-consensual sex acts.

Amazon is host to prostitution website OnlyFans. 

Article: Why is Amazon.com Hosting Pornographic Websites?

MoveOn Petition: Andy Jassy & Amazon: Stop Hosting Child Pornography

Amazon refused to host right-wing social media platform Parler after riots at the U.S. Capitol, but allows websites hosting hate speech against women, sexual violence and torture, sexualized incest and racism, and which sell women for sex.

Child Nudity & Sex Trafficking Books

Child Nudity & Sex Trafficking Books

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Amazon.com is selling books featuring collections of Jock Sturges, Sally Mann, and David Hamilton photography.

These publications contain numerous images that many, including experts on child sexual exploitation, consider akin to child pornography, or at the minimum, content that eroticizes children.

These same publications are replete with pictures of nude prepubescent and adolescent children—many of which display their pubic areas or genitals. These are not images reminiscent of a family photo album of children at bath time but are haunting displays of provocative child nudity.

While these publications (and films) are widely available and have been in circulation for many years, such material is unfit for sale by any reputable retailer. Retailers like Amazon should strive to prevent the dissemination of material that gratifies perverse sexual interest in children, not cater to it.

Last year, Walmart.com was also selling Jock Sturges publications, but upon receiving a letter on the matter from us, took swift action and removed his books from their online store within 24 hours - you can thank Walmart for removing these publications here.

We ask that Amazon act responsibly and do the same.

amazon_books_david-hamilton_1_12-20-16 amazon_books_david-hamilton_2_12-20-16 amazon_books_sturges_12-20-16 jock-sturges_books_2_12-20-16

Amazon child nudity

Here are examples of how-to books for becoming a sex trafficker.

Pornography

Pornography

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Screenshots from Jan 2021:

Screenshots from December 5, 2019:

A sampling of what was for sale February 2018:

Additional:

Amazon_Proof_Penthouse and Hustler Amazon_Proof_Playboy Magazine Amazon_Proof_Hustlers Taboo BDSM Magazine

Sex Dolls

Sex Dolls

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

After years of pressure from NCOSE's army of advocates and from Congress with the 2018 House-passed and then 2020 reintroduced Creeper Act, Amazon seems to have finally caved and removed all full-body and childlike sex dolls from their marketplace.

Searches in September 2020 still returned what seemed like thousands of full-body sex dolls on Amazon Marketplace. However, after mounting pressure, NCOSE researchers have discovered in January 2021, that only disembodied sex dolls remain. These are dolls with only the torso and thighs.

While these are still highly problematic, continuing to reduce women to only their intimate parts, this is a step forward.

Half body or torso-only sex dolls still sold by Amazon in Jan 2021:

Clearly, these dolls are portraying people (typically women or children) as literal sex objects, which contributes to coarsened social respect for women or values of consent. As Dr. Maras and Dr. Shapiro note in the Journal of Internet Law, sex dolls “have the potential of altering individuals’ views and perceptions of relationships, ultimately, having them interact with humans as they would with the dolls and robots.”

Screenshots Retrieved January 13, 2021 show that Amazon's algorithms for the search term "sex doll" return suggestions for what is likely meant to be just toy baby dolls, but the dolls recommended have anatomically correct body parts. Amazon must fix its algorithms to ensure silicone infant dolls with "realistic genitals" are not showing up.

Screenshots Retrieved September 27, 2019

Extreme combination of child-like face and large breasts.

Amazon lets you order pieces of female sexual anatomy ("doll" vaginas here) like a butcher selling pieces of meat.

Additional screenshots, retrieved November 27, 2018

UPDATE April 13, 2018

Amazon has ceased the sale of childlike sex dolls in the UK and removed many of them from their platform in the U.S. after advocacy from leaders in the UK, US, and Australia. These screenshots include items still for sale in the US with child-like faces.

THESE SCREENSHOTS ARE FROM JANUARY 2018

Taken at the launch of NCOSE's Annual Dirty Dozen List

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Feb 1, 2018.
Feb 1, 2018
Feb 1, 2018
Feb 1, 2018

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amazon_sex-doll_livebox_49-2-inch-blue-eyes_pelvis_12-13-20

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Customer Stories

Customer Stories

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

A customer on the German version of Amazon was searching for children's clothing when they discovered this t-shirt. They were horrified at both the objectifying nature of the shirt and, even worse, that it was modeled by/made for adolescent girls.

One mother contacted NCOSE when her teenage son showed her the dozens of graphic tees with full frontal nudity and sexually objectifying depictions of women that showed up when he was simply looking for a t-shirt.

Amazon_Proof_Graphic Tee_full frontal nudity

Amazon_Proof_Graphic Tshirts

One of NCOSE's staff bought a back brace on Amazon and then continued to get sadomasochistic paraphernalia as "Recommendations" for items she might be interested in. Amazon has more than 8,000 BDSM Sex Toys for sale.

Amazon_proof_8407 items in bondage

A concerned father alerted NCOSE to the fact that when searching with his son on Amazon for "guitar pick cases," many cases with nudity and depicting sex acts were displayed.

Amazon_Proof_Guitar Pick Case 3 Amazon_Proof_Guitar Pick Case 2 Amazon_Proof_Guitar Pick Case 1

One women contacted NCOSE when after perusing Amazon's magazine selections for something she might be interested in, she found many pornography titles for sale.

Sexualized Racism

Sexualized Racism

WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Dec 2020 article with screenshots:

On Kindle Store, A Sea Of Pornographic And Rape Fantasy Books Featuring Hindu Women And Muslim Men

Screenshots from February 16, 2021:

Progress

#DirtyDozenList Victory: Celebrating Amazon's New Parental Controls 

While we believe that BigTech has a responsibility to proactively create safe spaces online (especially for children) without being pressured to do so by advocacy organizations and parents, we still appreciate when corporations make positive changes.    We thank Amazon Prime Video for finally giving parents some control about what kind of media their young

Read More »
U.S. House Passes a Bill to Ban Child Sex Dolls

Child sex dolls are incompatible with a civilized society. This Wednesday, the House of Representatives, agreed with that statement by passing a bill to prohibit the importation and interstate sale of sex dolls or robots designed to resemble children. This bill, the Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots Act of 2017,

Read More »
UPDATE: VICTORY! Moms speaking out against Amazon selling Erotica Book with Child on Cover

Update 11:00 pm: After one day of social media madness, Mama on a Mission led lots of other upset mothers (myself included) to send complaints to Amazon. IT WORKED! They removed the post. The author has even removed all images and promotion of the book from her websites, too. Together,

Read More »