Jeff Bezos’s Amazon was reprimanded last year for its controversial ad campaign on behalf of The Man in the High Castle, a hit series based on the Philip K. Dick novel imagining a world in which the Axis powers won the Second World War. Nazi symbols suddenly appeared on New York City subway cars, prompting an outraged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call for them to be “ripped out,” and many others denouncing them as offensive and anti-Semitic.
Amazon is preparing to launch the second season of Man in the High Castle, which means another controversial ad campaign is hitting the streets of New York City. The following banner, featuring the Statue of Liberty giving the Nazi salute, was spotted in midtown Manhattan earlier this week.
Some New Yorkers are raising concerns similar to those raised in response to last year’s subway ads. “I know the show, and watched the first season myself, but I can think of a million better ways to promote this show, and I can’t even imagine how a Holocaust survivor who lives in the city would feel if they saw that,” Uri Katz told Gothamist. “This is tactless in so many ways.”
Amazon Studios released a statement in response to concerns over the new ad campaign that did not acknowledge any controversy and simply urged people to “watch the show” to “see what an alternate world could look like if history had gone another way.”
Perhaps Jeff Bezos, a Democratic donor who has a less than friendly relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, is trying to send a message about the rise of “fascism” in America. Trump frequently criticized the Bezos-owned Washington Post‘s “unfair” coverage during the campaign. Perhaps the billionaire is using his corporate entities to make a not-so-subtle statement about a political opponent?
We may never know. But because many of Trump’s left-wing opponents see him as an authoritarian dictator whose political base is largely comprised of neo-Nazis and “alt-right” white supremacists, this year’s ad campaign might not elicit the same amount of outrage as last years — if New York’s predominately liberal population chooses to view it as a social commentary on the election.
Either way, it’s sure to generate some valuable publicity ahead of the show’s launch on December 16.
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