Amazon CEO Andy Jassy made a surprising revelation Wednesday at the New York Times DealBook/Summit.
Speaking in person during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jassy covered multiple topics.
But the most important was his defense of free speech in a response to a question about “Hebrews to Negroes.”
That documentary was infamously shared recently by NBA player Kyrie Irving, which led to an unpaid suspension.
There were numerous other consequences for Irving, including Nike suspending their relationship with the Nets star.
Jassy meanwhile, said that Amazon believes it’s important to “allow access” to differing viewpoints, “even if they are objectionable.”
Amazon Takes Important Stance
There is no excuse for anti-semitism, and supporting anti-semitic content is undoubtedly objectionable.
But censorship is a slippery slope, as we’ve seen play out numerous times in recent years.
As Jassy rightfully points out, distasteful viewpoints must be allowed. The correct response to bad ideas is using more speech to make strong arguments against them.
Tech companies have all too often erred on the side of censorship. Google, Apple, Meta and Twitter, under its previous owners, have, in recent years, increasingly enforced viewpoint preferences.
As their censorship found increasing support amongst liberal media outlets, definitions of “objectionable” content frequently expanded.
The Hunter Biden laptop story, potential lab leak origins of COVID, and the inarguable failure of masks are just a few examples.
The documentary itself undoubtedly contains extremely bad, offensive ideas. But freedom of speech requires tolerating bad ideas.
Finally, a company as large as Amazon has shown a willingness to defend that principle.