Our letter to Etsy shareholders
Online global e-commerce platform Etsy still has not responded to the petition calling on corporate heads to stop selling incest and child abuse themed merchandise.
So we got together with some of our global anti sexploitation partners to send a letter to Etsy's major shareholders. Read it below.
August 23, 2021
Dear Etsy Shareholder
Re: Ask Etsy to remove and ban sexploitative listings
We are writing as a global partnership of organisations committed to ending sexual exploitation in all its forms - to ask you to use your influence to ask Etsy to remove and ban sexploitative listings.
Over the past decade we and our global partners have led numerous successful domestic and global campaigns targeting companies which objectify women and sexualise girls, to sell products and services.
One of these ongoing campaigns concerns the global shopping platform Etsy, in which you invest. Etsy has, unfortunately, chosen to profit from child exploitation material and incest and child abuse themed merchandise.
In January, Collective Shout launched a campaign calling on Etsy corporate heads to stop selling merchandise which eroticises and fetishises incest and child abuse.
A range of child exploitation material available for purchase on Etsy was documented, including life-like child sex abuse dolls and body parts (including mouths modelled on ‘Asian girl’ children). One seller claimed a doll was modelled off a 14-year-old Instagram ‘influencer’ and offered dolls customised to look like real children.
A change.org petition initiated by Australian musician, fashion designer and mother of five Anna Cordell has gained almost 50,000 signatures. Etsy has been condemned by child safeguarding authorities and government officials. The company has also attracted negative global media attention. Despite this, Etsy’s Board of Directors has remained silent.
Etsy has continued to promote incest-themed merchandise, normalising the idea that girls want to be sexually abused by their fathers. It recently sold this merchandise alongside baby clothes, children’s books and Father’s Day gifts.
Given your clear commitment to responsible investment, we would find it difficult to believe that your firm - which we note is one of Etsy’s largest investors - would want to have its good name associated with a company selling replica children and body parts for sexual abuse and merchandise which trivialises, fetishises and normalises child sexual abuse. We doubt your clients would want their investments directed to such an unethical corporation either.
We are therefore asking you to exercise your shareholder power to call on Etsy to remove these harmful products, to eliminate all sexploitative listings from its platform and prevent all similar listings in future. If it refuses to do so, we request you review your continued financial relationship with this company.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Melinda Tankard Reist
Movement Director, Collective Shout
CEO, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
Director, International Center on Sexual Exploitation
Director, Defend Dignity
Founder, Campaign Against Porn Robots
Founder, Women, Ethics, Robotic, AI and Data (WERAID, UK)
PhD Candidate and Co-Founder, Feminist Academy of Technology and Ethics
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Child, Adolescent and Family Psychologist
CyberSafety Expert and Founder, CyberSafety Solutions
Dr Joe Tucci
CEO, Australian Childhood Foundation
CEO, CEASE (Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation)
PhD Candidate and Public Officer, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia
Human Rights Lawyer and Chair, Adopt Nordic WA
Kristen A. Jenson
Author, Good Pictures Bad Pictures Series
Founder, Defend Young Minds
Jeffrey Paye Jr
Executive Director, Youth Dream for Constructive Achievement (YDCA Liberia)
Incest and Child Sexual Assault Prevention Advocate
Founder, Sexual Assault Advocacy Network
Director, Star Guides Wilderness
Founder, See it – End it Film & Arts Festival
Sent via email to representatives at Vanguard, BlackRock, T Rowe Price, Wellington Management, State Street Global Advisors, Fidelity Investments Canada, Janus Henderson Group, Two Sigma Advisers, Geode Capital Management, Zweig-diMenna, Zurcher Kantonalbank, Davenport and Company, Goldman Sachs, Congress Asset Management, Northern Trust Asset Management