A group calling itself "Cartoonists Against Amazon" has published an open letter on Medium asking comics and small-press festivals to boycott Amazon. The letter notes that Amazon, mostly through its e-comic platform Comixology, sponsors a number of independent comics festivals and events. The reason for the requested ban is Amazon's "horrific labor abuses" and the company's support of ICE. They argue:
Art is not apolitical, and art workers are not afforded special neutrality as innocent bystanders. We must examine the ways in which Amazon uses sponsorships to whitewash its brutal exploitation of workers and the disastrous effects it has on the cities it moves into. We must examine our culpability in a system that enforces and profits from the violent, inhumane treatment of immigrants; a system of sting raid operations and concentration camps that separates families and murders both children and adults via neglect. When we take money from Amazon and look the other way, we are allowing these actions to happen with our silence.
Signatories include local cartoonists Sarah Glidden and RJ Casey, as well as comics genius Kevin Huizenga and Bojack Horseman co-creator Lisa Hanawalt. Aside from their demands that festivals cut ties with Amazon, the letter urges comics festivals to offer "Complete transparency regarding sponsorships and money allocation," because "Artists should be able to provide input and make informed decisions about what our participation in any festival entails."
This is a pretty big deal, and it's interesting that cartoonists are the first to speak out. I can't recall a similarly sized literary protest of Amazon's support of literary events and festivals. Do any small-press poets and fiction writers want to follow the lead established by these cartoonists?