Amazon Pulls Controversial ‘Man In The High Castle’ Subway Ads After Backlash
Amazon has officially asked the MTA to pull a large wraparound ad for its upcoming Man In The High Castle, the online retailer announced Tuesday. The series, based on a novel by Phillip K. Dick, falls into the alternate history genre and portrays a world where Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire won World War II and took over the United States. To drive the premise home, Amazon paid to have the Times Square Shuttle wrapped in Nazi and Japanese imagery, including Iron Eagles and Rising Suns, in American flag colors.
While the concept may have seemed clever to Amazon’s promotions department, it was met with a great deal of resistance from riders, many of whom took to social media to decry the ads, claiming that they were offensive and that the alternate history context of the show was unclear. Evan Bernstein, director of New York’s Anti-Defamation League, echoed those sentiments saying “On the train, seeing the American Flag paired with a Nazi symbol is viscerally offensive, because there’s no context to what it means. This ad campaign has a feel of exploiting things that are so sensitive to so many people.” For their part, the MTA claimed that the ads fell within their rules, as they showed no “clear political viewpoint.” That answer didn’t satisfy politicians such as Bronx assemblymen Jeff Dinowitz (D) who roasted the organization over their choice to allow the ads. “While we are all used to bad decisions by the MTA, this goes beyond anything we have come to expect from them,” said Dinowitz. “The MTA could have allowed this show to be advertised without using such offensive insignia.”