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Amazon rethinks plastering NYC subway with Nazi symbols, pulls ads for new show

Riders on the New York City shuttle will no longer be commuting amid Germany’s Iron Eagle and Japan’s Rising Sun. Amazon Studios has decided to remove its controversial ads for its new drama, The Man in the High Castle, reports Variety.

The insignia suggested “axis of evil” control, which is fitting given that the series focuses on an alternate future in which the U.S. lost World War II; however, many were less than thrilled with the ads on mass transit, particularly the wrap ads on seats. In light of the outcry, Amazon Studios has evidently decided to back off from the marketing strategy.

“Amazon has just decided to pull the ads,” Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for New York City Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told Variety.

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MTA had previously approved the ads, as they didn’t violate any of the Authority’s current guidelines, Ortiz explained. Though controversial, they are advertising a product — The Man in the High Castle — rather than the ideals or opinions of the former axis powers. Nonetheless, the subway ads became a widespread topic of conversation, with photos and criticisms being shared by the public on social media.

Advocacy groups and politicians weren’t pleased, either. Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (D-Bronx) criticized the MTA via the New York Daily News for allowing “such offensive insignias [sic],” while Evan Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League felt the campaign was exploitative. “On the train, seeing the American flag paired with a Nazi symbol is viscerally offensive, because there is no context as to what it means,” he said.

Amazon’s decision to remove the ads will end a campaign that had been intended to continue into December.

While the subways ads were not well received, the show — which is based on a 1962 novel by Philip K. Dick — has been. Ten episodes of The Man in the High Castle have been released so far to critical acclaim.