eBay: We're "currently sweeping our marketplace" to protect you from the scourge of ... Dr. Seuss

Imagine what would happen if you tried to resell your old DVDs of Blazing Saddles. Thankfully, the tireless workers of eBay are risking life and limb to ensure that no one on their site will come into contact with the toxic nature of … Dr. Seuss.


I’ve seen Superfund cleanup projects with more tolerance than this:

Online marketplace eBay Inc. EBAY -2.77% said it is working to prevent the resale of six Dr. Seuss books that were pulled earlier this week by the company in charge of the late author’s works because they contain offensive imagery.

“EBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an email.

Hundreds of listings for the six books could be found on the platform as of Thursday morning, though the number appeared to be lower than it was on Wednesday evening. The eBay spokeswoman said it would take some time to review seller listings and that the company was monitoring newly published listings.

Um … isn’t the entire point of eBay to provide a secondary market for people to exchange their pre-purchased goods? If Seuss Enterprises no longer wants to print the six books in question, that’s their choice. If eBay doesn’t want to host retailers selling these new products, I guess that’s also a choice, but it’s an odd one. This policy, however, calls into question eBay’s core business model, which essentially replaces the yard sale by putting it on line.

Will every product people pull out of storage to sell have to endure a Woke Review to make sure it doesn’t cross eBay’s moral boundaries? What about old copies of Gone With the Wind? That book and film doesn’t just have a few problematic images — they go much further than that in denigrating and stereotypical characters. And yet one can find over 28,000 items on eBay this afternoon relating to GWTW.


(I hesitate to even bring this up. Although I’ve never liked GWTW, I have no desire to see it gobbled up in The Great Degaussing of 2021, either.)

EBay’s owning up to this and even embracing it as a stand against hate:

A spokeswoman for the website told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that it would no longer be allowing sellers to list six books that have been deemed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that preserves Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel’s legacy, as containing racially insensitive imagery.

“At eBay, we have a strict policy against hate and discrimination to ensure our platform remains a safe, trusted and inclusive environment for our global community of buyers and sellers,” eBay Corporate Communications Specialist Parmita Choudhury said. “We’re currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items. It can take some time to review all existing listings and provide education to impacted users. We’re also monitoring the newly published list to be reviewed.”

The Washington Examiner noted that eBay hadn’t done anything with Mein Kampf, to which they responded — yet:

When asked why listings of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, for example, could still be found on eBay, Choudhury responded, “The item you mentioned is also prohibited on our marketplace — thank you for flagging. With millions of transactions happening every day on our platform across more than 190 markets, we are constantly evaluating and making improvements to ensure prohibited items remain off eBay.”


If this is the game of whack-a-mole eBay wants to play, they’d better start hiring. It’s gonna take a lot of mallets:

There are 292 current listings for merchandise in a search on “Farrakhan.” Maybe you can’t make this up, but then again, why would you?

This is a perfect example of a social panic in a corporate setting. Rather than act like adults and use reason to judge distinctions, everyone involved in this are acting like adolescent hysterics with no perspective whatsoever. Ironically, all of these people might do well to learn about tolerance and perspective by reading some Dr. Seuss books. Oh, the wisdom you’d know!

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David Strom 10:41 AM on November 30, 2023