Walmart Pulls Shirts After Backlash Over Offensive Word
An eagle-eyed shopper first spotted the blunder and posted on Twitter.
Walmart is a go-to destination for affordable and on-trend clothes. They've got options for all ages—and if you're in the market for some comfier choices, you won't be disappointed by the selection of loungewear, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. However, Walmart recently came under fire for a specific t-shirt it was selling, which inadvertently spelled out an offensive word. Read on to find out why the big-box retailer was forced to pull the shirts from stores.
The t-shirt was meant to promote eco-consciousness.
Earlier this month, a shirt on sale at Walmart in Canada—seemingly promoting environmental sustainability—prompted a social media frenzy.
The shirt includes the prefix "RE" with four words listed beside it: cycle, use, new, and think. While well-intentioned, when read a certain way, shoppers pointed out that the tee actually spells out something crass.
The Twitter user at @whosyourdaddienow first posted about the shirt on April 3, writing, "I need this shirt before Walmart realizes what they have done. Find the hidden word." You can see a photo of the shirt included with the tweet, but be advised that it does accidentally spell an offensive word.
Twitter users had a field day.
The shirt quickly went viral on social media, with many chiming in to offer quips about the shirt snafu.
"This made me laugh LOL," one user wrote, while another added, "Oh boy! Lol."
Some users were questioning whether the design was intentional. "What's the over/under that whoever designed that shirt knew exactly what they were doing?" one user asked.
Others were more confident that a designer was having some fun. "That's got to be deliberate. Very good though," an April 4 tweet reads.
However, Walmart told Newsweek that this slip-up "was not intentional." In a statement to Best Life, a company spokesperson stressed that the shirt was only available in Canada and confirmed it has been removed from stores.
Some shoppers actually wanted to purchase the shirt.
While some were startled by the shirts, others were amused—and still wanted to buy them.
"I need this T-shirt," an April 4 tweet reads, with the user including crying laughing emojis.
Their fellow social media users were quick to help problem solve, providing links to buy the shirt from other retailers (aside from Walmart).
Walmart was forced to pull shoes earlier this year.
Other Walmart products have previously slipped through the cracks and sparked outrage, so these t-shirts are just the latest to land Walmart in hot water.
In January, Walmart removed "inappropriate" boots sold by a third-party retailer on Walmart Marketplace. The books had "KKK" printed in red on the shoe's tongue, Insider reported, prompting the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to contact Walmart Corporate and "respectfully ask that they be removed."
Walmart dropped the boots from Marketplace on Walmart.com, stressing that the boots weren't aligned with company values and that they would be taking action to prevent situations like these from occurring in the future.
"This item was listed by an outside third-party seller and removed because the item is inconsistent with our values and violates Walmart's prohibited product policy," the spokesperson previously told Best Life. "Like other major retailers, we operate an online marketplace that allows third-party sellers to offer merchandise to customers through our eCommerce platform. We have a process in place designed to prevent third-party sellers from offering inappropriate items on our platform. Still, at times, inappropriate items make their way onto our platform."
They added," We are reviewing how this happened and will apply what we learn to further improve our rules and processes to prevent the sale of inappropriate merchandise."