By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday called on Amazon.com Inc to remove "irresponsible and offensive" subway advertisements for a new television show featuring Nazi-inspired imagery.
The advertisements for "The Man in the High Castle" completely wrap the seats, walls and ceilings of one train on the heavily utilized shuttle line that connects Times Square and Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan.
The show depicts an alternate reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan have divided control over the United States after winning World War Two.
The advertisements include a version of the American flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars, as well as a stylized flag inspired by imperial Japan.
"While these ads technically may be within MTA guidelines, they're irresponsible and offensive to World War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers," said de Blasio, referring to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway system. "Amazon should take them down."
Amazon representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed the advertisements do not violate the agency's content-neutral guidelines, which ban political ads.
"The MTA is a government agency and can't accept or reject ads based on how we feel about them; we have to follow the standards approved by our board," said spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
The show is an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick 1962 novel that 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 streaming service on Nov. 20.
The shuttle train is scheduled to be wrapped in the ads until Dec. 6, the MTA said. In addition, Amazon has paid for 260 subway station posters to be displayed until Dec. 6.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Alistair Bell)