Advertisements for new Amazon Prime Video series The Man in the High Castle, which featured Nazi-inspired imagery, have been pulled from a New York City subway line after Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened.
An Amazon representative said on 24 November that it had not asked for the advertisements to be pulled, despite earlier reports claiming it had. The representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter, said a transit official who claimed Amazon had requested the removal following criticism was incorrect.
The advertisements for The Man in the High Castle completely wrapped the seats, walls and ceilings of one train on the much-used shuttle line that connects Times Square and Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan.
The advertisements include a version of the US flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars, as well as a stylised imperial Japanese flag. Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), said the train was taken out of service after the evening rush hour so the ads could be removed.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had called on Amazon to remove the ads, earlier on Tuesday, calling them "irresponsible and offensive to World War Two and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers."
"Basically I'm uncomfortable sitting on the seats right now knowing that I know what types of flags these are and I do feel they should be pulled off, I really do," commuter Janine Geist said, after sitting on the train seats.
"I thought it was cool art, but I had no idea it had association with Hitler. It's pretty bad if it does. It's promoting racism to a certain extent," fellow traveller Kurt Boone added.
The shuttle train ads had been scheduled to run until 6 December, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In addition, Amazon has paid for 260 subway station posters to be displayed until the same date. The MTA had said the advertisements do not violate the agency's content-neutral guidelines, which ban political ads.
The show is an adaptation of the 1962 Philip K Dick novel The Man in the High Castle, which describes a version of history in which the Axis powers win World War Two and divide the United States into a Nazi-controlled East and a Japan-run West. All 10 episodes became available on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service on 20 November.