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Apple is cutting off its payment support for websites that sell white supremacist or Nazi-themed apparel and other paraphernalia, according to a new report.
The tech giant confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that it had disabled Apple Pay support for several websites that sold Nazi-themed and white supremacist items. The move closely follows a series of demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend in which one woman was killed and several others injured when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
The websites were reportedly found to been violation of Apple Pay’s acceptable use guidelines, which prohibit the use of the company’s proprietary payment system in ways that promote “hate, violence, or intolerance based on race, age gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.”
Brien James, the owner of AmericanVikings, told BuzzFeed that he was unaware of the Apple Pay integration in the first place — and didn’t seem too upset with Apple’s move after he called the site a “hobby.” Notably, the site sold a bumper sticker that depicted a vehicle apparently running down a crowd of stick figure demonstrators with the tagline “nobody cares about your protest.” Along with the sticker, AmericanVikings stocks a wide range of white pride apparel. “If they don’t like me, they don’t have to do business with me,” James said.
While Apple isn’t an especially large player in online payments, its recent move echoes varying levels of action taken by other payment platforms and tech companies. Discover, PayPal and Stripe are all in the process of killing support for white nationalist sites, The Verge reported. And on Monday, Google and GoDaddy killed the registration capabilities of white supremacist blog The Daily Stormer. Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp and WordPress are also taking similar actions.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter on Monday to condemn the violence in Charlottesville. “We’ve seen the terror of white supremacy & racist violence before,” Cook wrote in a tweet. “It’s a moral issue — an affront to America. We must all stand against it.” Similarly, on Wednesday, Cook released a longer memo on the matter and pledged that Apple will donate $2 million to fight hate and bigotry across the country.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups, praised Apple’s move in the wake of the Charlottesville violence. Heidi Beirich, the leader of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, likened Apple’s decision to a similar one in 2014 when it decided to remove certain songs tagged as “hate music” from iTunes.
“Tim Cook has been the leader in the fight against hate on tech platforms,” Beirich told BuzzFeed News. “It would be a much better country if people had followed his lead on this front.”