Confederate Battle Flag Items Are Being Removed From Second Life Marketplace

Hamlet Au recently blogged – Linden Lab Declines Comment on Continued Sale of Racist Confederate Flag Items in Official Second Life Store. In that post Hamlet said

I’ve e-mailed Linden Lab three times about the sale of Confederate flag items in its official Second Life Marketplace (which I blogged about last week), but have still not received any kind of reply. At this point I’m forced to conclude Linden Lab is declining to address the issue — either publicly, or in the Marketplace itself, where Confederate flag items are still quite easy to find and buy, both through searches of “Confederate” and “rebel flag”.

Whereas Linden Lab may have declined to comment, it does seem that they are taking action. In a post on SLUniverse, Second Life content creator Amigo Uriza writes :

Yesterday and today, I got all my outfits with the rebel or confederate flag delisted and deleted from the marketplace.

I always supposed that flags were never copyrighted or trademarked … that’s why I decided to used them. Actually It wasn’t me, but my deceased partner that created those “rebel” items a few years ago and I have been selling them since then. I haven’t created any other since then.

According to Linden my items have been removed for “Listings for harmful or disruptive content”. They are just outfits with a flag on the chest or the back. Nothing else. Some of them have been removed for “Post, display, or transmit Content that is obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable”

First things first, Amigo admits that English is not his first language, so he may very well be unaware of the more sinister meanings behind the Confederate Battle Flag. I say this as someone who does have English as a first language and I didn’t understand how deep the negative symbolism of this banner went. I have put this down to the fact that it is widely seen on Film and TV where it’s not always in a context of racism. This is a different scenario to which people generally see the Nazi symbol, with some exceptions in Asia and even then, those of us in the west raise eyebrows when we see the symbol.

However the commentary and news stories surrounding the Confederate Battle Flag in recent days have pointed out loud and clear how much a symbol of hatred it can be. This therefore has definitely put Linden Lab in an uncomfortable position.

Amigo’s post is backed up by the fact that a search of the Second Life Marketplace no longer seems to return obvious items emblazoned with the Confederate Battle Flag.

However you can still find the confederate flag of Stars and Bars, so they don’t seem to be removing everything, just the battle flag. I’m sure there are legitimate uses of the Confederate Battle Flag within virtual worlds, such as re-enactments of American Civil War battles. This is where matters can get a tad murky, but that excuse doesn’t really wash with bikinis, jackets, vehicles etc.

The Guardian recently reported that many retailers are removing Confederate Battle Flag Merchandise from their stores :

Online giants Amazon, eBay and Etsy are joining retailers Walmart and Sears in banning the sale of items featuring images of the Confederate flag, as a wave of opposition to the divisive historical symbol builds in the wake of a racially motivated massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, last week.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that Linden Lab are following suit. I do feel that Linden Lab should make a statement on this issue, if only to clear up any confusion on the issue. Items that are not allowed on The Marketplace should also be forbidden inworld.

Linden Lab of course do face the awkward situation of being in charge of a user generated content world, so it’s difficult to stop people uploading content, but a clear message on how they won’t tolerate symbols of hatred would be welcomed at this time.

12 Replies to “Confederate Battle Flag Items Are Being Removed From Second Life Marketplace”

  1. As a resident of the American Southeast, as a born Marylander but raised Coloradan, this issue has me horribly torn for many reasons. But rather than trot out a long-winded diatribe, I’ll simply echo some very wise words I heard on TV:

    “I personally hate the Confederate flag. I loath seeing it displayed on any public edifice or monument. I will not be silent until my state stops supporting its display. But in America, personal freedom is the law. And that includes the right to be stupid or hurtful. So I will also defend any PERSON’s right to display the flag I hate.

    I have to say, I agree. I don’t want it displayed at public expense. That is not what my government or country stand for. But if any one person chooses to display it then that is their right. And I too will defend their right to be hateful, hurtful, backwards-looking idiots.

    BTW: The man I quote? One of the leaders of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.

    1. Business are always touchy about image. Linden Lab have a new project in the pipeline, as well as supporting a current project.

      I don’t know if LL have unilaterally been removing items, or whether they are responding to abuse reports. However recent developments really have put LL in an awkward position and really, it should not be surprising that they appear to be following the lead of Amazon, eBay, etsy, Walmart & Apple.

      Flags can be very problematic, just take a look at the issue of flying flags in the North of Ireland, as one example. A flag really shouldn’t be so problematic.

  2. I have to say, when I saw this headline, my blood ran cold. This probably shouldn’t have shocked me, but it did. This isn’t about stopping violence or hatred, this is about letting a few loudmouthed people blathering about surface details, and about things that offend SOME people but that others find indifferent, to cause you to cave in and pull it just so those that are complaining will STFU and GTFA. But, as some other commentator elsewhere pointed out, in a couple months people will have forgotten the whole Confederate battle-flag bruhaha, including all those participating in it, without it having solved any of the supposed issues they claim underlie it. But the reason it made my blood run cold is because it means it will be easier the next time for some group of loudmouthed people to come along and demand some OTHER thing be pulled, just because it offends them. And it might be something YOU love or hold sacred. Keep this up long enough and eventually there’s nothing left that people might be offended by, because its ALL been yanked…

    No, this isn’t about “doing the right thing,” this is about busybodies making a stink…. and then feeling empowered after the chair-warmers cave and give them what they want, so next time, those busybodies or some other group of busybodies, make a demand of some other thing that they say should be yanked, and then say “You pulled the rebel flags, why are you reluctant to pull *this* *too*? It’s just as bad!” (when really, it isn’t “just as bad.”) the chair-warmers will feel like they have no choice but to yank that too, and the thing after that, and the thing after that, and it’ll get easier and easier each time.

    What SHOULD have happened is LL look at the hollering and screaming about this southern flag thing, and say “This is bullbleep!” and ignor it altogether, while waiting for it to blow over. WHICH IT WILL.

    But yeah, LL have already shown themselves before to have no real backbone when it comes to purported controversy. They’ll cave just so the issue will GTFA, but we all lose a little part of ourselves when it happens, even the ones harmed by the things being screamed about.

    1. LL were put in an awkward spot due to the likes of Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Apple etc. pulling similar content from sale. I was reading earlier that some TV station will no longer show re-runs of The Dukes of Hazzard because of this issue.

      I understand your frustrations, really, the recent furore about this flag surprised me, The Dukes Of Hazzard was on the telly when I was a kid, I wasn’t really a fan but at no point did I wonder why that flag was there, even as a kid I knew that the Nazi flag meant bad things.

      However I have read some things about the flag recently that do paint a different picture, especially when it’s in the circumstances of why the flag was placed in some locations, that’s not a pretty picture at all.

      Yes this will blow over and I also agree that removing these flags won’t solve the problems America faces. Circumstance isn’t always logical.

      1. On the other hand, I gather there’s been some online petition saying that that station that pulled Dukes of Hazzard off their lineup made a big mistake and they want it back… and it got LOTS and LOTS of signatures… so this could still backfire on LL, since it DOES seem to have backfired on that satellite TV station. :/

  3. Well I don’t find the Rebel flag to be racist at all. I mean it been around for yrs, Its HISTORY!…Why Now?..This world as we know it is off there rocker. To many ppl taking sides..We all should be just Americans an stand by each other…Black, White, brown, yellow.. etc.. does it matter?..We all bleed the same..All these crazy ppl shooting up ppl.. That has nothing to do with a flag!..It these kids now these days.. there parent just needed to give them an old fashioned whip ass. Time out really?..When I was young an I did something wrong, I got a spanking from my parents.. there is a different from a beating an an Old fashioned whip ass..It all crazy..Then you have ppl doing nasty stuff to the USA Flag.. Why?..The world gone madd!..

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