NEW YORK — Calling it a "contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," eBay said Tuesday that it will ban the sale of Confederate flags and similarly themed merchandise.
"This decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and racial intolerance," said eBay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff.
The e-commerce company is the latest to prohibit the sale of Confederate merchandise following Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. The shooting deaths of nine black church members last week in South Carolina has reignited debate on what the flag symbolizes.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said this week that the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds
EBay Inc., based in San Jose, California, said it will begin notifying sellers of its decision and begin removing items that contain the Confederate flag on Tuesday. A search for "Confederate flag" brought up 1,400 listings, including pins, watches, ties, hats and sunglasses with an image of the flag on it.
Rival Amazon.com Inc., which also sells Confederate flags and other items on its site, did not respond to requests for comment.