Bol.com to remove all blackface from its marketplace

From the end of September, Bol.com will no longer sell any products featuring blackface Zwarte Piet. The online marketplace already informed external sellers that they have a month to sell out or remove their Zwarte Piet items from their range, the company said on Wednesday.

According to Bol.com, customers have complained that Zwarte Piet products were still available on the marketplace. The company is not afraid of negative reactions. “We stand behind this,” a spokesperson said to NU.nl “We do expect a lot of responses, but we listen carefully to our customers and this is an issue.”

From next month, Bol.com will actively ban any articles featuring blackface from the platform. The term “Zwarte Piet” will also no longer be used in text. Sinterklaas helpers that are not in blackface, like Chimney Piet with soot marks on their face, are still welcome.

The company will also ensure that the term “skin color” is replaced by the word ‘beige’ or another color when it comes to referring to white skin. The company received reports from customers bothered by the fact that light tights, for example, are referred to as skin-colored tights, the spokesperson said to the newspaper. While not everyone has that skin color.