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The Real Reason Twitch Removed These Amazon Ads

Twitch removed anti-unionization ads created by Amazon, its parent company, from its streaming service on Thursday, Feb. 25, for violating its advertising rules. The advertisements were reported by a More Perfect Union on Twitter on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and were reportedly taken down on Thursday, Feb. 25 according to esports insider Rod Breslau.

The ads appear directed at employees at Amazon's BHM1 warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Described as "hostage videos" by Breslau, the advertisements show Amazon workers who say they don't want to unionize because their working conditions at the warehouse are good. "We really don't need anyone coming in and telling us what they want to give us, 'cus basically, we have everything we need here," one woman said in the advertisement. "This is the only place I've seen that has benefits from day one. There's no waiting period."

"I used to be a union rep at Los Angeles international airport and they don't do nothing but take your money," a man named said in another advertisement. "They just take your money, and they don't do anything for you." He went on to declare that he'll vote no to unionize.

"These ads should never have been allowed to run on our service," a Twitch spokesperson said in a statement to Breslau. "We have removed these ads and are evaluating our review processes to ensure that similar content does not run in the future."

Amazon has dedicated an anti-unionization website to BHM1 under the #DoItWithoutDues slogan (complete with an animated corgi with a record player). According to The Verge, the advertising violations on Twitch follow a series of events aimed at disrupting unionization efforts in Alabama, including a company-wide text message campaign and anti-union meetings, among other tactics. BHM1 workers have until March 29 to return ballots on the vote.

"Amazon feels that it has to go to extremes like this in order to gaslight its workers about the dreadful working conditions at its Bessemer warehouse," Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum told The Verge. "Amazon is leaving no stone unturned — including ads on Twitch — in its efforts to deceive and intimidate their employees into voting against the union."

Amazon has also taken out large sections of ad space in prominent publications to promote a federal $15 minimum wage. More Perfect Union claimed this is likely an effort to improve the company's public image while arguing for a rate it already pays.

It's currently unclear why the policy violating Amazon ads were allowed to run on Twitch in the first place, or how Twitch's decision to remove them will affect its relationship with its parent company.