On January 26, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other passengers died in a helicopter crash in South California.
On Monday, a public memorial service was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, honoring the life and legacy of the late NBA superstar and his 13-year old daughter, Gianna.
Mourners at the memorial received T-shirts with images of Kobe and Gianna, programs, and pins, and some of them hit eBay at ridiculous prices.
TMZ noticed that many of the listings quickly disappeared from the marketplace and reached out to eBay.
The Company confirmed to TMZ that it was pulling down the merchandise as it violated its policy that prohibits sellers from profiting from human tragedy or suffering, also known as the “Disaster and tragedy policy.”
“Listings or items that portray, glorify, or attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering, or that are insensitive to victims of such events, are not allowed. Showing respect and sensitivity to our global community of members is very important to eBay. We don’t allow members to sell items that are hurtful to the victims of tragic events such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters.”
But what about merchandise that also appears to violate that policy?
Consistency in Enforcement?
There is no argument that this is an excellent and socially responsible policy. Unfortunately, as is many times the case with eBay policies, there are questions about the consistency of enforcement.
Right now on eBay, enter the search term “9/11 memorial pin,” and the marketplace will display pages and pages of 9/11 pins “remembering or memorializing” the events of 9/11.
Simplify the search to “9/11 memorial,” and eBay’s search displays over 2,700 listings, from pins, patches, t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, even a novelty Dollar bill!
The search results do show some legitimate items such as books and publications. However, most of them, including this ridiculous Dollar bill, appear to be pure profiteering.
There are more strange items for sale on eBay that seem to violate its policy on profiteering from human tragedy, including this gem.
This is a coffee mug depicting notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who murdered 17 people. Apparently, this is okay to sell on eBay!
Where is The Line?
Obviously, there is a heightened awareness surrounding the Koby Bryant tragedy, and eBay is trying to be responsible and respectful… today!
But what about in a few weeks, a couple of months, or next year?
Looking at some of the items for sale on eBay by searching terms that reference human tragedies, its “Disaster and tragedy policy” appears a bit flexible! And that shouldn’t be!
Do you think eBay needs to do a better job enforcing its policy on human tragedy?
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