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Breitbart gets to keep using Shopify to sell its merchandise

Ronen Tivony | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said the Canadian e-commerce company won't bow to pressure to kick the far-right Breitbart News site off its platform.

He wrote in a Medium post Wednesday that he believes refusing to do business with the site would constitute a violation of free speech.

"To kick off a merchant is to censor ideas and interfere with the free exchange of products at the core of commerce. When we kick off a merchant, we're asserting our own moral code as the superior one. But who gets to define that moral code?" he wrote.

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He said Shopify allows companies to use the platform "even if they are unpopular or if we disagree with their premise, as long as they are within the law."

Shopify has faced a social media campaign urging consumers to boycott the company for hosting Breitbart's store, according to Motherboard.

Lütke wrote in his post that he has received more than 10,000 emails, tweets and other messages urging Shopify to stop hosting Breitbart's online merchandise store. "Shopify employees are facing similar pressure," he said.

According to Buzzfeed, "employees have been asking for an updated policy on what types of clients Shopify will work with."

Late last year, a campaign urging brands not to advertise on Breitbart gained traction on social media, spurring companies like Kellogg's to stop running ads on the site that previously was run by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Despite taking their business, Lütke said Shopify is not advertising on Breitbart, which is known for its incendiary headlines. Examples include, "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy" and "Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage."

Breitbart's online store includes items such as a t-shirts and beer cozies that celebrate the proposed building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

By TESS TOWNSEND, Re/code.net.

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