Walmart Will Stop Selling This One Controversial Item
The retail giant is responding to criticism in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Walmart announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling merchandise on its website that includes the phrase "All Lives Matter," which is typically used to counter Black Lives Matter protesters. In a statement first reported by USA Today, Walmart said they are "indefinitely" removing the controversial items, which are sold by third-party sellers.
"We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect," Walmart said in a statement to USA Today. "However, as we listened, we came to understand that the way some, but not all, people are using the phrase 'All Lives Matter' in the current environment intentionally minimized the focus on the painful reality of racial inequity."
Early last week, customers demanded the removal of an "All Lives Matter" shirt that was for sale on Walmart Canada's website. In response at the time, Walmart Canada told Reuters: "This item is sold and shipped by a third party seller and is currently being looked into."
The Black Lives Matter movement started in the summer 0f 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Shortly thereafter, the All Lives Matter movement sprung as a rejoinder.
But in the civil unrest that has followed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers this past Memorial Day weekend, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained more mainstream acceptance, with a number of brands showing support and even commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the NFL's support. It is in this context that Walmart has pivoted to what seems a position more sensitive to the current protest movement.
Walmart also announced last week that it would stop selling the Mississippi state flag, which features a Confederate emblem, in its stores. Mississippi's state legislature voted this past weekend to remove that symbol from its flag, which the state's governor has since pledged to sign. And for more ways Walmart has responded to racial inequality, check out Walmart Will Finally Stop Locking Up This One Product After Years.