Amazon and eBay have blocked sales of merchandise featuring the phrase "stand back and stand by," words that have been adopted by right-wing extremist groups after US President Donald Trump used the phrase during Tuesday night's presidential debate.
The two online retail giants and Teespring, an online custom apparel company, began on Thursday pulling down listings of merchandise bearing the phrase, as well as products that feature the insignia of the Proud Boys, a far-right group. The items included shirts, buttons and stickers.
Trump used the phrase during the chaotic debate after he was asked if he'd condemn white supremacy and the Proud Boys. The president told the group to "stand back and stand by." Since then, the words have been used as a rallying cry by extremist groups and have appeared on merchandise for sale online.
"We take a hard line against any listing attempting to spread hate and discrimination," an eBay spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement.
Amazon said it had "removed" such products.
"It has come to our attention that content promoting hate and violence has been circulating on Teespring. This type of content is strictly prohibited under our Acceptable Use Policies, and against our values as a company," a Teespring spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement. "We have no interest in profiting off hate or violence, and we are in the process of investigating these reports and taking appropriate action."
The Proud Boys have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which notes that the group was formed during the 2016 presidential election as an "anti-political correctness" and "anti-white guilt" movement. The group denies being racist, though its members do identify as "western chauvinists."
The Proud Boys didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.