Ewan Palmer, Newsweek, May 29, 2019
Trade Me originally said they were not going to take down the shirts after stating that it did not breach any of its rules.
“While we know there is some debate about this slogan, we don’t think these items cross that line.”
However, the company has now decided to remove the items from sale after admitting the phrase is too closely linked with far-right groups and white supremacy.
“We knew there was some ambiguity associated with this phrase so it’s been a tough one for us to wrestle with,” Hiotakis said in a statement.
“But we listen to our community and we will change our mind if we feel there’s a good reason to do so.
“New Zealand has told us that they don’t want to see this sort of thing on Trade Me and we agree, so this slogan will not be allowed to be sold on any item on our site.”
After the stickers began appearing at universities around the country, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke featured an article on his website about to so-called trend entitled titled “It’s OK to Be White Campaign Sweeping the Nation!”
As noted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the phrase had links to white supremacy and neo-Nazism long before it was used in the troll campaign.
“Despite what the advertisements say, it seems likely that the stickers and T-shirts are intended to convey a message of intolerance, racism and division,” a spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission told the Herald. “There is no place for that in New Zealand.”
The T-shirts are still available on shopping site allgoods.co.nz.