CRITICAL UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE.
As NewsBusters reported Thursday, auctions mocking actor Jim Carrey's attacks on gun owners mysteriously disappeared from eBay last week.
On Friday, eBay issued a statement via email to the Hollywood Reporter admitting that it had indeed removed these auctions and was reversing this decision:
“The listing complied with eBay’s policies and was removed in error. Following the removal, eBay reinstated the listing and all fees were credited back to the seller. We apologize for the error and the inconvenience to the seller.”
As NewsBusters reported, an eBayer named "astrobuzz" created an auction for an autographed picture of Carrey. The listing was titled “Jim Carrey Autographed 8X10 Photo So I Can Afford a Gun!”
Identical items on eBay typically sell for about $8 and don't generate more than a few bids. Yet by Wednesday afternoon, astrobuzz had gotten 103 bids driving the price up to an astonishing $860.
On the same day, the item's description suddenly changed to "I'm selling this Jim Carrey autographed B&W photo (mint condition) for purposes I cannot explain because it might be against eBay's Terms & Conditions," and the bids disappeared.
Before this happened, astrobuzz's auction attracted copycats with some promising to join the NRA with their proceeds and others vowing to pursue classes and apply for a concealed-carry permit. By late Wednesday, the word "gun" had been removed from all of them.
Kudos to eBay for reversing this foolish decision.
*****Update: Maybe not.
On Saturday, I received an email message from someone claiming to be astrobuzz.
According to him (name withheld by request), this is his original listing. It now reads:
This listing (281083705945) has been removed, or this item is not available.
Please check that you've entered the correct item number
Listings that have ended 90 or more days ago will not be available for viewing.
He forwarded me an email message he claimed eBay sent him explaining why his listing had been removed:
You recently listed the following listing:
281083705945 - Selling a Jim Carrey Autographed 8X10 Photo So I Can Afford A Gun!
Unfortunately, we had to remove your listing because of the following:
All content in a listing title and description should be related to the sale of the item (for example, product details and terms of sale information). Comments not relevant to the sale of the item such as comments about other members are not permitted.
Your listing is for an autographed Jim Carrey photograph yet your listing has comments regarding the Second Amendment, Charlston [sic] Heston and the type of gun that you would be purchasing. None of these things have anything to do with the JIm [sic] Carrey photograph and are therefore in violation of our listings.
You may relist the Jim Carrey autographed photograph, but you need to keep the title and description to the item being sold and not your political or personal beliefs. Our marketplace is to be used to sell and purchase items, not propagate your beliefs.
Including comments or information in a listing that doesn't relate to the sale of an item isn't allowed.
Listings that include content unrelated to the item may clutter the site and detract from search accuracy. Sellers aren't allowed to state their personal opinions, comments about other members, or viewpoints in their listings.
Please be sure that any information you include in your listing is directly related to the item for sale.
I of course have no way of confirming that he is astrobuzz or the authenticity of this email message.
But, supporting his contention, the link the Hollywood Reporter included in its Wednesday article that first exposed this auction now goes to a page reading "Item 281083705945 is no longer available. 50 items found similar to 'Selling a Jim Carrey Autographed 8X10 Photo So I Can Afford A Gun.'"
This is astrobuzz's current listing: "Selling Jim Carrey Autographed Reprint 8X10 Photo!" As you can see, there's nothing in the title about astrobuzz's desire to buy a gun with the proceeds.
Beyond this, as THR reported Wednesday, the price was $860 with 103 bids before eBay pulled the original listing. Yet the current price is $260 with 44 bids.
So, it appears eBay didn't reinstate astrobuzz's original listing as it claimed to THR but instead either created a new one for him or allowed him to do so without the gun reference.