These are trying times, and that can sometimes means that our brains just don’t function as well as they normally do. A member of the Amazon support team unfortunately learned this lesson in a very public way on Saturday when they stated that Northern Ireland was not a part of the United Kingdom. Spoiler: It is.
On Saturday, editor and writer Chris Jones reached out to Amazon on Twitter with a simple question: He wanted to know why he couldn’t find the live England v. Georgia rugby match on Amazon Prime Video. The company’s customer service team, for its part, tried to help him resolve the issue on the social media platform, giving him a list of supported devices and asking him whether he was using a VPN or proxy connection. Still no solution.
Shortly afterward, the Amazon customer service representative, who signed their tweets as “RS,” tweeted at Jones and told him that they had found the problem.
“We apologize but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland. Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the UK. We don’t have the rights to other territories,” Amazon’s RS wrote.
Jones proceeded to tell RS that Northern Ireland was indeed a part of the UK—as are England, Wales and Scotland—and it has been for a very long time. Let’s do a quick recap for all of those who are rusty. According to the History Channel, the Irish Republican Army fought to separate itself from the UK in the Irish War of Independence from 1919 to 1921. The war ended in 1922 with the division of Ireland into northern and southern regions.
The northern region, named Northern Ireland, remained part of the UK, while the southern region, or the Irish Free State, was part of the British Commonwealth. This meant that while the Irish Free State owed its allegiance to the British king or queen, the UK did not rule over it. The Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland in 1937.
Nonetheless, RS did not believe Jones.
“Many apologies but, we don’t have the broadcast rights for Ireland or other territories,” RS tweeted.
Jones did not give up, and continued to insist that Northern Ireland was part of the UK, graciously suggesting that maybe the problem was due to the fact that he had signed up for Amazon Prime Video when he used to live in Ireland (the republic, which is a separate country and a European Union member state.)
As is typical of the internet, a gaffe like this could not remain a secret for long. It quickly spread through Twitter, with many people highly amused that one of the most prominent e-commerce companies in the world had inadvertently united Ireland. Some decided to troll Amazon in response, which only resulted in the company making the situation worse.
Case in point: Later in the day, another customer support representative named HG decided to weigh in. HG apparently believes that Northern Ireland is only a part of the UK when it comes to Amazon Video.
“Tell us more. We understand Northern Ireland is part of the UK with regard to Amazon Video. How can we help you? Let us know,” HG wrote.
After a few hours, the Amazon support team seemed to realize the mistake, and issued an apology. The team added Prime Video subscribers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK could indeed watch tournaments that were part of the Autumn Nations Cup.
While RS, the Amazon support team member, was probably horrified that their mistake spread through Twitter like fire and ended up on quite a few online news outlets, we’re sure they won’t make that mistake again.