Amazon risks reputation rancour

Competitive prices, a wide range of stock and a user-friendly interface have made Amazon one of the greatest success stories of the internet revolution.

While the millions of items Amazon sells make it difficult to keep a track of everything, one item in particular is going to cause it a huge amount of damage unless it acts swiftly.

I have to admit at this point that I am an Arsenal fan and proud of that fact.

I remember, however, watching games in the late 1970s and early 1980s and having so called ‘fans’ shouting monkey noises in front of me at their own players.

These were fans in the seats, not the terraces, and looked more educated than the average supporter of those days. Which made their idiotic ‘humour’ all the more distressing and despicable.

I will hold my hands up and admit that I too have booed or jeered opposing fans or managers in moments of frustration when an incident has provoked my ire.

But I will not nor will I stand for anyone around me making racist, homophobic or unacceptably abusive comments or chants. It’s just not on.

There were rumours when Arsenal’s manager, Arséne Wenger, first arrived at the club, that he was resigning immediately because of alleged accusations against him.

He stood on the front steps of Highbury Stadium and dared anyone to repeat them and the hoax was over.

That hasn’t stopped fans continuing to chant such slanderous abuse in Wenger’s direction – and now Amazon is selling a chant Mpeg which, while not identifying Wenger, echoes the fan sentiments in no uncertain terms.

One fan who has complained received a reply which referred to ‘freedom of expression…Amazon.co.uk believes it is censorship not to offer for sale certain titles with repugnant or distasteful content, and we would be rightly criticised if we did so. As a result, we will continue to make controversial works available in the UK and everywhere else, except where they are prohibited by law.”

So that basically means if anyone wants to sell something backing or supporting bombers or child kidnappers or suchlike will be acceptable unless banned by law?

The worst thing any company can do is allow itself to be seen to be motivated by money and the 69p the track costs is going to pale into insignificance compared to the bad publicity that will come its way.

Once the powers that be at Amazon realise their error, they should take immediate action to remove the offending clip from their catalogue.

In truth, all right-thinking football fans and the general public will abhor anything that not only crosses the boundaries of respectability, but shoots them down and spits on them as it does so.

Reputations can be lost swiftly when the public is alerted to what most rational people will consider to be an error of judgement.

If Amazon know what is good for them, they will issue a statement confirming the removal of the offending clip and vowing to take more care in assessing whether what they sell is acceptable or goes beyond the bounds of decency as is the case in this instance.