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Anti-Zimmerman Artist Points to eBay’s Hypocrisy for Pulling Painting

by Hrag Vartanian on December 25, 2013

An image posted by artist Michael D'Antuono on his Facebook page on December 22 (via D'Antuono's FB page)

An image posted by artist Michael D’Antuono on his Facebook page on December 22 (via D’Antuono’s FB page)

The artist at the center of the anti-Zimmerman painting controversy on eBay, Michael D’Auntuono, responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment about the online auction site’s decision to remove his painting because it violated their Hateful or Discriminatory policy.

Hyperallergic asked D’Antuono if the removal of his auction item will prevent him from posting items on eBay in the future and what his thoughts on the topic are now that he has had a few days to consider the auction site’s action.

D’Antuono response in its entirety (and edited only for clarity) reads:

In shutting down my auction, eBay cited their policy of not allowing “relics from the Ku Klux Klan or anything that bears the KKK symbol.” The hypocrisy is that currently there are 1,569 other items for sale on eBay related to the KKK and bearing their symbol. The policy violation alert eBay sent [me] read, “Hateful or Discriminatory” yet they have more than a dozen auctions for the Ice-T CD. In my opinion (and in the opinion of thousands of people who wrote to me), any policy that allows a murderer to profit from his crime, but deems art that speaks out against racial injustice and benefits it’s victims ‘hateful and discriminatory’ needs to be reevaluated.

The only discrimination is on eBay’s part. They are discriminating against an artist speaking out against racism who is willing to donate half of the proceeds to a charity dedicated to advocating for crime victims, and educating youth on conflict resolution techniques to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly.

The backlash is picking up steam. I would hope eBay reconsiders. If not, I will look for ways to accomplish my original mission of making a statement by raising more support for our cause than Zimmerman did.

D’Antuono’s reference to the Ice-T CD refers to the rapper’s role in the 1992 CD Body Count, which featured the controversial “Cop Killer” single. The song, which features lyrics such as “I’m a cop killer, better you than me / Cop killer, fuck police brutality / Cop killer, I know your family’s grieving / (Fuck ‘em) / Cop killer, but tonight we get even, ha ha,” was a lightning rod for criticism by many law enforcement agencies, politicians, and even the White House. Faced with the mounting calls for the song to be banned, Ice-T recalled the album and re-released it without “Cop Killer,” which was then given away as a free single. While the studio version of the song was never included on future versions of the album, a live version of the song appears on the 2005 DVD release Body Count: Live in LA, which is available on eBay and Amazon.

An image, which includes a partial screenshot of eBay's email to D'Antuono, posted on the artist's Facebook page. (via D'Antuono's FB page)

An image, which includes a screenshot of eBay’s email, posted on the artist’s Facebook page. (via D’Antuono’s FB page)

This is the message (in its entirety) sent to artist Michael D’Antuono by eBay. The text was provided to Hyperallergic by the artist:

Subject line: MC999 Listing policy violation alert: Hateful or Discriminatory

Hello,
After reviewing your eBay account, it appears that you have violated eBay’s Hateful or Discriminatory policy. We realize you may not have been aware of this policy, or that this may have been a simple oversight, but unfortunately, we had to take the following actions:
- Violating listings have been removed. A list of removed items is available further down in this email.
- We have credited any associated fees to your account.

Items promoting or glorifying hatred, violence, or racial or religious intolerance aren’t allowed. Items that promote organizations with these views are also prohibited. Some examples of prohibited listings include:
- Relics from the Ku Klux Klan or anything that bears the KKK symbol
- Items promoting the Aryan Brotherhood or Neo-Nazi groups

This restriction includes items that have the organization’s symbols blocked, cropped, or are otherwise not shown in the listing.

To learn more about our offensive materials policy, go to:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/offensive.html

**The painting you listed appears to contain images or icons associated with the KKK which are not allowed to be listed on our site as they represent an organization that glorifies hate and violence. **Your listingalso did not meet our criteria for donating proceeds to a charitable organization. To donate proceeds of a listing to a foundation you must use PayPal Giving Fund or include a scanned letter of consent. The scanned letter must: ?be on the nonprofit’s letterhead, signed by an officer ?include the nonprofit’s tax-deductibility status as well as your name or eBay user ID, dates of event/listings, and donation amount (percentage of the final sale price) ?be large enough to be easily legible, and it must appear as a picture rather than a link While we appreciate that you have chosen to utilize our site, we must ask that you please not relist in this case.

Please be sure your future listings follow these guidelines. If they don’t, they could be removed.

If you have any more questions, contact our policy experts.
http://ocsnext.ebay.com/ocs/cusr?query=508&domain=email1383 

Here are the listings we removed:
181285145260 – George Zimmerman Inspired Painting “A Tale Of Two Hoodies” By Michael D’Antuono

Thanks,

eBay

Please don’t reply to this message. It was sent from an address that doesn’t accept incoming email.

eBay has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

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