Complaints Prompt Department Store Sears to Yank ‘Disgusting’ Nazi Swastika Rings From Website (UPDATE)
U.S. department store Sears quickly responded to outraged shoppers who discovered a page featuring Nazi swastika rings on their website, on Monday.
“Disgusting,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in comment on the incident to The Algemeiner.
“I see it was on sale in Sweden which means if Sears offered it there is a market,” he wrote in an email. “Woe to the society that treats the ultimate symbol of evil as a mere trinket.”
Sears representative, Natalie Kempa, told The Algemeiner that “the ring was not posted by Sears, but by independent third-party sellers on Sears Marketplace. All Marketplace Sellers must accept our seller agreement terms in order to sell their items on sears.com and part of that agreement includes an understanding that certain offensive items may not be listed. If a problem occurs, we take appropriate action. The ring has not been purchasable since this morning and we are in the process of completely removing the items from our site.”
It is unclear if the rings are available at any of the chain’s brick and mortar stores.
Meanwhile, at least one Jewish federation leader told local WDEL Radio that they were “horrified,” to see the rows of rings on the marketplace site.
“I just was horrified at the lack of sensitive[ity] by Sears to even market that, that horrible offensive, insensitive symbol,” Ellen Bernhardt, the director of the Jewish Community Relations Committee for the Jewish Federation of Delaware, told the station.
“Sears being such a national, well-known brand, a huge corporation that they would issue an apology; I’d be kind of surprised if they didn’t frankly,” she said.
“For the people at Sears not to have been aware of that or to lack the sensitivity or knowledge that that swastika is a symbol of destruction and annihilation of millions of Jews is just reprehensible,” Bernhardt said.
UPDATE: In a statement posted on their website on Tuesday, Sears Holdings said “we are outraged that more than one of our independent third-party sellers posted offensive items on Sears Marketplace. We sincerely apologize that these items were posted to our site and want you to know that the ring was not posted by Sears, but by independent third-party vendors.
“When we became aware of the existence of these offensive items, we immediately prevented the items from being purchased on the site and then proceeded to remove them from the site yesterday (October 13, 2014). We are also in the process of removing related, offensive items from our site.
“All Marketplace Sellers must accept our seller agreement terms in order to sell their items on sears.com, that allow us to remove anything offensive. We promptly contacted the Sellers to strongly voice our concern over their incredible lack of judgment.
“We take this issue very seriously and are taking the appropriate steps, as we communicated to the Anti-Defamation League. A representative from the ADL applauded Sears for taking swift action, telling media outlets: ‘They took the situation very seriously. They took immediate steps to remove the items from their website,’ Joshua Cohen said. ‘ADL feels that Sears did the right thing,’ he said. ‘Such is the nature of the Internet that anything goes. We’re glad that Sears took this situation seriously and took immediate steps to remove these items from their site.’
“We also want you to know that we are working to improve our systems to prevent such items from being listed by independent third-party sellers.”