Sears ‘Outraged' by Sale of Swastika Rings, Removes Rings From Its Marketplace Website

Sears shares in the "outrage" caused by the sale of rings with a swastika symbol on several websites including the Sears Marketplace.

"Like many who have connected with our company, we are outraged that more than one of our independent third-party sellers posted offensive items on Sears Marketplace," said a statement posted by Sears Holding Company staff Tuesday. "We sincerely apologize that these items were posted to our site and want you to know that the ring was not posted by Sears, but by independent third-party vendors."

Sears responded to NBC10's requests for comments after Jennifer Steinberg of Delaware told NBC10 she was browsing the Sears marketplace website when she spotted the rings baring the symbol selling for up to $155.

“I was more incredulous because Sears was a company that was founded by Jews,” Steinberg said.

The description for the swastika ring, manufactured by jewelry company CET Domain, said the following:

This Gothic jewelry item in particular features a Swastika ring that’s made of .925 Thai silver. Not for Neo Nazi or any Nazi implication. These jewelry items are going to make you look beautiful at your next dinner date.

"When we became aware of the existence of these offensive items, we immediately prevented the items from being purchased on the site and then proceeded to remove them from the site yesterday (October 13, 2014)," said Sears.

The swastika ring was also listed on Rabbi Ellen Bernhard of the Jewish Foundation of Delaware told NBC10 she was “horrified” when she saw the rings.

“I can’t even imagine in my wildest dreams,” she said. “I don’t know what anyone was thinking when they produced this or marketed this. It’s so insensitive.”

Sears Marketplace is not the official Sears website but is instead described as a “community of sellers working with Sears.”

A spokesperson for Sears told NBC10 the company removed the item from the website once they were made aware of it.

“The offensive item, which was listed by independent third-parties on Sears Marketplace, violates our guidelines, and was removed as soon as we became aware of its existence on our site,” the spokesman said.

A search for "swastika" on the Sears site Tuesday yielded no results.

"We take this issue very seriously and are taking the appropriate steps, as we communicated to the Anti-Defamation League," read Tuesday's statement. 

In a corresponding statement posted to the ADL's website, the group praised Sears for removing the swastika ring.

“They took this situation very seriously and took immediate steps to remove the items from their website,” Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Chicago Regional Director said. “We deeply appreciate their efforts and believe they did the right thing by removing this product immediately and making clear that they believed the third-party sellers had exercised very poor judgment.”

The ADL went on to explain in a letter to Sears Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert, that they are grateful for the speedy response after alerting Sears to the swastika as a symbol of Nazi Germany.

The swastika also holds meaning in a variety of other cultures and religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and ancient European cultures.

NBC10 reached out to CET Domain for comment. We have not yet heard back from them.

Sears said it would work to improve its filters to prevent the sale of similar items in the future. 

Sears is no stranger to Holocaust era item controversy on its website. Over the summer, Sears along with Amazon, Walmart and other online retailers faced heat for a posting featuring the gate of Dachau concentration camp as a piece of home decor. As pointed out by Digiday, Sears faced extra criticism because under related items it listed ovens -- victims of the holocaust were often cremated in ovens at concentration camps.

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