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In a bizarre publicity stunt turned online censorship debate, eBay on Wednesday morning took down Glenn Beck’s auction of a Barack Obama bobblehead doused in beer serving as a stand-in for Beck’s own urine.

The listing was a reaction to a Boston artist who painted Obama being crucified, which Beck interpreted to imply a comparison to Jesus Christ. It was listed on eBay, where it reached a price of $11,000 in less than an hour.  The item was quickly removed by Ebay.

Read more: http://on.mash.to/Ve9kQT

What do you think of this whole situation? Should the listing have been taken down?
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89 comments
 
Regardless, it is disrespectful.
 
If you do it for one, you better do it for the other
 
Many people obviously haven't heard of the now-gone art piece called, "Piss Christ"
 
I'm thinking I'm positively sick and tired of the infantile BS from both sides. It doesn't matter who you are, just get the job done and do it right. This kind of thing? It's beneath even the dignity of a degenerate.
 
This is one of those line items in the TOS and EULA that people seem to act shocked about when it's applied.  As a private business, ebay didn't do anything wrong. They removed what they consider a questionable sale.  No different than pulling Nazi gear. 
 
Ebay took it down because they said it was claiming it "contains urine" and they have a policy against selling bodily waste.  I've not seen the real description, but if that's true then they can just relist without the false claim.
 
I have no problem with Glenn Beck selling this, just as I have no problem with Piss Christ. 

Not allowed to pick and choose between which freedoms of expression you agree/disagree with. 

That being said, eBay say they took it down because they thought Beck was trying to sell his own urine--which is a violation of their policy--not because they disagree with the statement. 
 
$11K, I am getting a mason jar and some beer (or apple juice) after work!
 
Hey +Steve Barnes, I reckon that both are disrespectful. I have a feeling that Mr. Beck didn't do it for art's sake though.
 
He should be allowed to sell whatever, so long as it is allowed by established eBay policy, regardless of the fact that he is a pure, unadulterated asshole and foul douche nozzle.
 
and there you go +John Downing the end... opinion aside that's pretty cut and dry. 

If it's urine... it's against policy.
If it's beer... it's against policy.

Has nothing to do with free speech... 
 
Yes, these items and their meaning are ridiculous. Politically motivated garbage. Glenn Beck is a terrible human being with a small mind who is afraid of his own shadow and see's nothing but evil in everything that doesn't fit into his small minded scheming. As for seeing Obama compared to Jesus, you only see what you want to see. 
 
Pissing in a jar: how Glenn Beck stays relevant today. 
 
Never  in the history of the United States has a sitting president been disrespected so blatantly.  Yes - Ebay was right for removing an item which was vulgar and hateful.
 
I don't understand the question. "Should" it have been taken down? No. But eBay didn't take it down because it "should" be removed, they took it down because it's a use of their site that risks affecting their business in a negative way. Their business isn't hosting political statements, but selling the junk in your attic...
 
So, he's got even more attention, and now he can post it on some other less-restrictive forum for sale... 
 
I thought tech-blogs like 'Mashable' should be tasked with cutting through the political BS and clearly stating facts rather than trying to raise sensationalism. A TECH Blog! You'd think they'd KNOW what a business can or cannot do! What did you think it was? An equal platform public forum??
 
Beck & Coulter are prime examples of small-minded pettiness that lead to absolutely nothing. Even though bidding reached 11K, the percentage of people who actually agree with their nonsense is small compared to those of us who don't. And most of those fools are the inbred kind...you almost can't hold this idiocy against them because genetics precludes them from having a rational thought process.
 
Glenn Beck is obviously a jerk but he has the same free speech rights that everyone does. So by all means pillory him, make fun of him, insult him etc...but it's not illegal.
 
The whole thing is simply childish. Glenn Beck needs to grow up.
 
Most shockingly: Glenn Beck has a job??
 
+Tony Karas eBay is not a platform for making statements. It's a business and it has it's own agenda.
 
So I suppose dunking a replica of the flag in beer is OK with Beck.
 
They pay this jerk a ridicules salary to Disrespect a sitting President.. Fifty years ago his ass would be nailed to the wall and his job taken away. Now the republicans find this the intellectual way of handling
global issues..He is a fool.
 
you people are scared to express your true feelings ...that fool is a jerk.....lets how about this we take his fat ass picture put it in a bottle on ebay...lets see how he react to that....
 
I think disrespect was the point.
 
They are entertainers,so they, Beck,and the others, will do whatever it takes to get attention 
 
Sounds more like it's conservatives who are in an uprage about this than liberals.. +Sir Charles so far I haven't seen any liberal coverage about it, but maybe I'm just missing the mob?...
 
They are entertainers,so they, Beck,and the others, will do whatever it takes to get attention 
 
Free speech doesn't extend into the private domain of a company.
 
I have to disagree with the comment that "no sitting President has been disrespected so much".  George W. Bush was hung in effigy, Michael Moore made a movie claiming he deliberately twisted the events of Sept. 11th to justify a war with Iraq so his family and bin Laden's could get rich (and that "documentary" was given several awards by Hollywood), and Bush's intellect was repeatedly insulted by everyone from movie makers to SNL to liberal pundits, and all while Bush was in office.  When Bill Clinton was President, Rush Limbaugh claimed Clinton's wife was the true President.  So disrespecting a sitting President isn't new.

As for inbreeding, that was always more common amongst royal families than the poor, and yet Glenn Beck is neither.  I don't agree with much of what Glenn Beck says, but I suspect he was trying to make a point about fairness, and I always agree with making points about fairness.  Even as an atheist, I say if ebay will list items disrespecting religious figures, they should also list items disrespecting political figures.  They don't, however, have to sell beer.  Beck should switch the beer with apple juice, clarify what the liquid actually is, and relist it. 
 
Ebay took his post down because they don't market human liquids or body parts. This has nothing to do with beer (though I can see laws prohibiting that) or religious figures..
 
Beck got exactly what he wanted out of this stunt.  There would have been no outrage had it been Bush, Cheney or some other old Republican.  Pointing out the hypocrisy of Liberalism and media bias while gaining publicity was the goal.  Who cares if Ebay took it down?  Certainly not Beck.  
 
It's freedom of speech and is that the best Beck can do? He's stuck at age 3 humor.  What's he going to say next, Obama is a poo poo head?  Democrats are laughing last, all 1,000,000 more of us than the GOPers.
 
Who cares. Don't give these fools the attention they seek.
 
I don't agree with taking it down, but Beck is an opportunistic and crass twit...pretty close to a skank.  He deserves whatever crappy treatment he gets out there...from anyone.
 
I think one might take this opportunity to check Glenn Beck's pee for methamphetamines and bath salts.  
 
Ted, a 100,000 more fools willing to live off the backs of those that work and pay taxes...I'd rather be with the minority, at least I have self respect .
 
It's funny that people actually believe that, that, is what's happening in this country +Richard Taylor 
 
glen beck and all his ilk should get a taste [literally] of their own sickness and take rush with them.  rose mavronicolas
 
+Richard Taylor  if you want to stop "fools willing to live off the backs of those that work and pay taxes" point your snarky finger at the pentagon and our bloated military industrial complex (now there is your waste,fraud and abuse)most people given a chance would rather have a decent job that pays a good living wage than welfare..do you really believe that people really WANT to live on welfare? yes there is a small class of people who just dont give a shit but they are theexception not the rule
 
Your ability to speak freely is not a universal right just because your you. It had to be earned and that military complex you so vehemently despise is the reason you have e right to speak as you do. It's not perfect, it's at times very cumbersome and has many selfish and bad people within but find me a better system with more freedoms that has not benefited from our influence?
 
+Richard Taylor maybe in 1776, but it's 2012. Wars fought for our freedoms have gone and past. Welcome to the new world mate, and the age of information.. Soldiers today don't fight for our freedoms, they fight for bankers and special interests.. get a clue.
 
sorry +Richard Taylor but I'm not a member of "the military secures our rights" club. My dad going to Vietnam did nothing to secure "my rights", My father in law secured no ones right in the  Korean conflict and our military is certainly not securing any rights by propping up the authoritarian leaders of Bahrain( or killing civilains all over the middle east)  The military does not secure my rights to free speech the Bill Of Rights does. Fortunately  that is academic because you are misconstruing my comment. I am not saying we should have no military I'm simply saying instead of heaping the countries troubles on the poor lets let the blame fall where it really lies at the feet of our over reaching, over extended military and all the vultures that feed on it
 
and that's exactly why the bill of rights is more important to my freedom than the military. IT gives me a legal basis to defend myself against such abuse...good point +Glen Cauthon 
 
+Mashable sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread.. don't say you didn't see it coming!
 
What's sad is your inability to recognize the efforts of those who faught
against global terrany that allows you today to speak freely. Had we not
faught on WWII your freedoms might be different and substantially less.
Had we not faught in korea the freedoms of some would be less,reducing our
freedoms as well. We live globally not selfishly. Your freedoms are
related to those of millions around the world, if you don't think so move
to Iran or even Mexico or Spain its not the same there as it is here.
 
+Glen Cauthon Beck could take them to court but he has no argument. Have you read the earlier comments you would see he clearly violated their EULA/TOS. Even if it wasn't a political thing. Just a jar of piss... or a jar of beer with nothing else in it they would have taken it off the site and sent him the same thing. It's against their policy to sell bodily waste and alcohol. You can read it for yourself. It's there... he didn't read it... so his item was pulled.

People are making this out to be way more complex than it needs to be. It's pretty simple.
 
Beck is struggling to maintain an audience these days
 
+William Fullington I think thats quite a stretch as to what the article is stating, but feel free to straw man the fuck out of this situation all you want..
 
if you read up the post guys selling  alcohol is against the TOS on eBay nobodies suing nobody!  +William Fullington as the dummy who brought up "piss christ" I need to say this i don't think it would be allowed by the TOS either as a bodily fluid. I have to agree  with +Joe Frayer   you smashed the logical fallacy glass celling on your last comment
 
Freedom of speech is protected in the constitution against our government, that does not mean a company or institution can't censor you within their mediums..
 
For all of you making the freedom of speech argument a quick reminder. The wording of the first amendment says "Congress shall make no law...." The first amendment only applies to the federal government and it says that the government cannot make laws that limit freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly.

That means that the first amendment does not apply to Ebay, which is a private institution.

However, I think ebay missed out on a very amusing money making opportunity.(since they get a percentage of every auction won)
 
+Michelle Korczyk-Hassell you make a great point. I was going to bring it up but in my eyes the 1st amendment doesn't apply in this situation.

The only on table for discussion is Glenn Beck's blatant disregard of their EULA/TOS. If anything Ebay might have grounds to pursue some sort of recourse as far libel/slander... 
 
+Glen Cauthon Actually, Glen, the US constitution applies directly to the federal government, not to the States themselves. Except in the case of the tenth amendment, which states that any power not directly granted to the federal government, nor prohibited to the states are granted to the states and then to the people.

The first amendment is specifically directed towards congress. Not towards private institutions. That's why it's illegal to yell "fire" in a private building when there's no fire, but not illegal to yell fire in a public location.

The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that it says that "Congress shall make no law"

There is no reference to the state government there OR private institutions.
 
I feel like it can't be stated enough times: freedom of speech doesn't equal entitlement to a forum or an audience.
 
Of course I know how Amendments are made. XD

I also know that the US constitution applies to the Federal government and not State governments. That is why the core of the constitution - Articles 1-3 - deal with the Federal government. The founding fathers wrote and the states ratified the federal constitution with the intention of it limiting the federal government to prevent our free democratic republic from being infringed upon.

The states have their own constitutions and the states are what support the federal government, not vice versa. Which is why any state at any time is free to succeed from the Union (Go Texas!).

Again, the first amendment say "Congress shall make no law", it does not talk about the states or private entities at all. eBay is an international public internet domain and is not governed by the US Constitution. Therefore they can limit whatever they want to limit within the bounds of their TOS. 
 
Yes, it can. Freedom of speech does not equal freedom to do whatever the hell you want with your speech. It means that congress cannot limit your speech. Just congress. That's it.
This is why you can't yell fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire, but you can yell fire all you want in a public park (Unless the state has a law against it)

eBay, as a private entity, can do just about whatever it wants. Again, it's an international internet domain and is not governed by the US, any state or any country really.

Beauty of the internet, unless someone is going to prevent people from accessing the internet (e.g China), there's no real way to control what various websites do, eBay is free to write up it's own TOS and if you agree to it, you've entered a binding understanding with eBay that you agree how they run things.
 
Nothing says family values like Glenn Beck smfh
 
I think we all need to take a breath and repeat the mantra "this has nothing to do with free speech"...You cant sell items that are illegal to send through the mails on Ebay. this isn't to censor anyone's speech it to protect YOU and Ebay from liability.. if beck empties out the beer and re-posts it as a  "make your own pissobama kit" and it gets pulled down then THAT is another matter
 
+Michelle Korczyk-Hassell The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment extends all of the Bill of Rights to the states, if I'm not mistaken. However, you're right in that the Supreme Court has placed restrictions on freedom of speech that present a "clear and present danger," mostly in response to anti-war movements.

None of that applies here though, because like I said eBay has no obligation to provide Beck with a forum. He violated their ToS, they took his listing down.
 
When you use a private platform - you obey their rules. Just like a home ... or you get kicked out.
 
So liberals use federal funds for "Piss Christ", where an "artist" immersed a crucifix in a jar of urine, then defending forcing us to pay for it as "free speech". Glenn Beck immerses an effigy of a complete moron in "urine" and the liberals' feelings are hurt. No credibility, those crocodile tears. 
 
Enuf said morons. Who besides an idiot gives a damn about any of this stfu please
 
+Maddy Perennity did you even fucking read the god damn article?! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!
;)

I swear conservatives are having a fucking shit fit over this non-issue, glen beck publicity stunt..
 
+Glen Cauthon I could censor your comment right now by flagging it for Google to remove it. That is no different than what Ebay has done, our unalienable rights are a protection against government tyranny (state or federal, it matters not), they are not afforded against a private institution, how much I wish we could say whatever we want, where ever we want, there are consequences to that. You can't say 'FUCK YOU' to your boss and hope to work the next day. Sorry, bud, but you're just wrong..
 
Glenn Beck Is Such An IDIOT
 
+Glen Cauthon My point is still valid, if enough people flagged your comment (assuming it's against google's policies) or Google saw your comment, it'd be censored. The 1st amendment right doesn't correspond with private institutions..
 
If you say something I don't like in my house, I can kick you out. If you say something I don't like in my place of business, I can kick you out. If you post something on Ebay that violates their clearly stated terms of service, that you agreed to when you signed up, they can remove your post. Like I said, no one is obligated to provide you with a soapbox or listen to your 'free speech.'

I don't see any 'liberals' bending over backwards to defend the rights of the artist of Piss Jesus. I don't think his art is very profound or tasteful. But he didn't violate the ToS. Glenn Beck did, and now he's trying to contrive it into a censorship issue. And it's pretty damn transparent.

I see no double-standards here.
 
I don't know how to explain it to you in any other way +Glen Cauthon ... We just don't agree and all I have left to say is to try to fight this in court and you would lose.. +Andrew Hawkins is correct..
 
+Glen Cauthon I somehow don't think that would hold up in court. Unless you could argue that Google had acted contrary to their own end user license agreement, or that the agreement itself somehow violated the law, you wouldn't have a case.
 
+Glen Cauthon i think the issue was that he labeled his item as being a bodily fluid. "Pee Pee"
Alcohol or bodily fluid, I think Ebay has stated they are not a venue to sell those items..

And I was just using the google flagging system as an example of how a private institution can censor you and "violate" your 1st amendment right. Not that I was actually going to flag you for disagreeing with me ;)
 
+Glen Cauthon our government has police and an army along with the pentagon, CIA, FBI and other security departments.. I'm not worried about a private institution doing much of anything, but shut the service they are offering me, down.
 
+Glen Cauthon They aren't violating your free speech rights, they just decide whether or not to provide you with a venue. They own the servers and provide the service, and they dictate the terms under which you can use it in their EULA. You either agree to the EULA, in which case you can use the service, or you don't, in which case you can't use the service.

The law is like that for a reason. Imagine how terrible it would be if the Westboro Baptist Church could sue you and win for refusing to let them into your house to spew their vile hate speech.
 
+Glen Cauthon You seem to be confused by the definition of free speech in this country.  It applies ONLY to government interference with expression.  A private entity can choose to enact consequences for expression whenever they please.

It's the reason it's not illegal for a private employer to fire an employee based on a post they write online if they feel it doesn't reflect well on the company. 

The listing clearly violated eBay's terms of service when it comes to alcohol -- "eBay doesn't allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on its U.S. website, except for pre-approved sales of wine."  If the listing was within eBay's terms of services, I doubt it would be taken down.  You can read the full policy here:  http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/alcohol.html
 
+Glen Cauthon by your logic, movie theaters shouldn't be allowed to tell you to be quiet or leave; museums shouldn't be allowed to kick you out for screaming at the exhibits; and so on... you don't have an unrestricted right to yell whatever you like wherever you like. You have a right to air your views and organize and assemble with others. Beck, a TV personality who has personally organized marches on Washington, is awash in opportunities to air his views.

We don't need to force eBay to host his junk.
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