UPDATED, 5:16 PM: Today the controversial refitted Nazi and Imperial Japan imagery from Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle that was on New York City subway cars has come off. I’m told by sources that the decision to remove the ads for the new streaming series was not made by Amazon but by the Big Apple’s MTA after some pressure from high up the Empire State and NYC food chain. On both the outside and inside of the vehicles, the imagery depicting an Axis Powers-ruled America had been on select subways cars for about a week before attracting negative attention Monday. They were scheduled to run, so to speak, until mid-December.
Silent on Monday, Amazon expressed no regret about the campaign today.
“Amazon Studios creates high-quality, provocative programming that spurs conversation,” an Amazon spokesperson told Deadline. “The Man in the High Castle, based on an acclaimed novel, explores the impact to our freedoms if we had lost World War II. Like Transparent and the movie Chi-Raq, stories that society cares about often touch on important, thought-provoking topics. We will continue to bring this kind of storytelling to our customers.”
The 10-episode first season The Man in the High Castle debuted on November 20.
PREVIOUS, Nov. 23, 6:40 PM: Amazon’s new drama series The Man in the High Castle is based on the Philip K. Dick novel that imagines a time in which the Axis powers won World War II. And as such, New York City is part of the Greater Nazi Reich. So what’s the line between real and make-believe — or controversy versus publicity? The latter is the question going around Manhattan after benches on some 42nd Street Shuttle subway cars were emblazoned with the Iron Cross associated with Nazi Germany or a modified Rising Sun emblem of Imperial Japan.
So is this an ethical question or a legal one? Should the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority even have allowed the signage to be placed on its trains? While the stunt is bound to offend any number of subway riders, note in the photo above how everyone — 4-for-4 — is simply whiling away their time, engrossed in their phones. Could it be that younger folks merely shrugged off the advertising, if they noticed it all? Deadline reached out to Amazon for comment but has not heard back. In the meantime, what do you think of this campaign?