Amazon Shuts Down Man’s Smart Home Over False Racism Accusation

In a move that left one Baltimore resident practically locked out of his own smart home, Amazon shut down a man’s devices based on a false accusation of racism made by a delivery truck driver. Brandon Jackson, the affected individual, had his smart home devices, which were connected to his Amazon Echo, rendered unresponsive for an entire week.

Jackson took to Medium to share his frustrating experience, stating that he was left with “a house full of unresponsive devices, a silent Alexa, and a lot of questions.” Seeking answers, he reached out to Amazon, only to be met with “a somewhat accusatory” attitude, informing him that a delivery driver had reported hearing him make a racist remark during a package drop-off.

However, Jackson found the accusation perplexing since the majority of delivery drivers in his area shared the same race as him and his family. Moreover, he discovered that no one was present at home when the alleged comment was supposed to have occurred. 

Reviewing his home’s security footage, he noticed that his Eufy doorbell had automatically responded to the driver’s presence with a polite inquiry: “Excuse me, can I help you?” It appeared that the driver, walking away with headphones on, might have misinterpreted the doorbell’s reply.

To prove his innocence, Jackson sent the video evidence to Amazon, which took several days to review the material. Throughout this time, he remained locked out of his smart devices as the company claimed to conduct an internal investigation. It was not until six days later on May 31 that the company released control of his devices and he was granted access to his account.

Jackson especially took issue with the extent Amazon went in handling the issue despite his decade-long relationship with the company and the fact that he paid for the products. Expressing his frustration, he stated, “If someone bought and paid for a device, they should be able to use it at least on their own property / if it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

“Regardless of their race, religion, beliefs, if you paid for it you should OWN it,” he added.

Addressing the issue, Simone Griffin, an Amazon spokesperson, told The Daily Caller that the shutdown was part of the company’s efforts to “provide customers with a great experience” while ensuring the safety of their delivery drivers.

The tech company, however, admitted that Jackson did not do anything wrong and assured the public that the company is rectifying the situation by “working directly with the customer to resolve their concerns while also looking at ways to prevent a similar situation from happening again.”

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