If you’re a Jew who rides the New York subway (and let’s face it, there are a lot of us), you may have noticed something unsettling over the last few days: full subway cars covered in Nazi propaganda imagery. And while it wouldn’t take a clever person long to deduce that the trains have been altered to promote Amazon’s show The Man in the High Castle, I’m sure most can still agree – and hopefully I’m not just speaking for the Jews here – that the ads are, simply put, not cool.
Thankfully, after considerable backlash on social media (see below), Amazon has decided to pull the ads.
— Rabbi Weintraub (@TweetedTalmud) November 24, 2015
The show, which is based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, depicts an alternate universe in which the Nazis won World War II, therefore gaining control of parts of these United States. The offending ads featured American flags, altered to include the Reichsadler – a Nazi coat of arms.
Because the ads did not technically violate any of the MTA’s regulations, they had no grounds on which to stop them from running. “Unlike Fox, the MTA is a government agency and can’t accept or reject ads based on how we feel about them; we have to follow the standards approved by our board,” Kevin Oritz, an MTA spokesman, told Fox.
I can just picture the meeting that green lit this idea now: “Hey guys, we should wrap the subway cars with American flags but put a swastika where the stars normally are.” “No Bob*, that might offend people – let’s go with the Reichsadler.”
Naturally, the Reichsadler also offended people. Bob may or may not still work at Amazon.
*Some names were made up for the purpose of this post.