Walmart has sparked outrage for selling a T-shirt online that some users on social media have called racist.
On its website, the big-box retailer is offering for sale an adult men’s graphic tee in “Military Green” with the words “All Lives Matter” emblazoned on the front. The product is marketed as an “original” Old Glory design, printed to order using “cutting-edge, direct-to-garment technology” on a “high-quality” green cotton crewneck shirt. (Another shirt in gray is also available on the site.)
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Social media users first pointed out the shirt early this week and suggested that it had initially been spotted on Walmart’s Canada-based website. One user called the design “absolutely disgusting,” while another wrote that, by selling the T-shirt, Walmart was “siding with racists.”
Walmart Canada: We are taking steps to address racism.
Also Walmart: This ALL LIVES MATTER merch is available for pick up in three locations near you.
— Farzana Khan (@_Farzanakhan) June 23, 2020
Appalled to learn that Walmart Canada's on-line store is selling "All Lives Matter" t-shirts. This slogan was created by racists to oppose the legitimate demand that "Black Lives Matter." By selling these t-shirts, Walmart is siding with racists.
— Susan White (@susanleewhite) June 25, 2020
A user by the name of Sarah Grace Wright brought up Walmart’s recent pledge toward achieving racial equity and urged the company to remove all of its “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” merchandise. (A simple search of both “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” on Walmart’s U.S. website pulls up seven graphic T-shirts, sold by brands Old Glory, New Way and Trendy USA.)
@Walmart I saw your video pledging $100M toward helping the Black communities around the country. I would love to see you raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour AND removing of your "ALL/BLUE LIVES MATTER" merchandise.
— Sarah Grace Wright (@gracechaffee) June 25, 2020
As of 2 p.m. on Thursday, the product is still available on Walmart’s U.S. website but has been removed from its Canada website. In a disclaimer on the product’s page, the company wrote, “Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.”
FN has reached out to Walmart for comment.
Early this month, the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain announced a $100 million commitment toward establishing a new center on racial equity with philanthropic initiatives in four key areas: finance, health care, education and criminal justice. The goal of the center, said CEO Doug McMillon, is to “help advance economic opportunity and healthier living.”
Beyond appointing teams for each of those departments, the company said it would increase accessibility to health care, strengthen its academic support efforts and support minority-owned businesses. It also promised to improve its own hiring processes to allow nonviolent and formerly incarcerated applicants fair consideration, as well as create “broader and deeper ties” to historically black colleges and universities.