Giant US retailer Walmart is set to discontinue sales of “All Lives Matter” merchandise on their website, after a social media backlash.
The company, which is the biggest retailer in the US, caused controversy online earlier this week when it was revealed that a third-party brand, Old Glory, was selling a number of $20 T-shirts via the Walmart website, including “Blue Lives Matter”, “Irish Lives Matter”, “Homeless Lives Matter”, “Police Lives Matter”, “Drunk Lives Matter” as well as “All Lives Matter”.
The anger on social media began when Twitter user Kate Udle posted a screen grab of an “All Lives Matter T-shirt” with the comment “Are you kidding me @walmartcanada??? Disgusting. Do better.” Other Twitter users expressed their dismay, with one asking: “Why make it easier for the racists to get their clothing?”
After initially announcing it would investigate the situation, Walmart later announced it will stop selling the items which are sold by third-party sellers after noting the concerns of employees and customers.
In a statement the company said: “We fundamentally do believe that all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect. 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 minimised the focus on the painful reality of racial inequality.”
The move comes after last week’s news that the company would no longer display the Mississippi state flag which features a Confederate emblem in its stores. Mississippi lawmakers recently voted to remove the emblem.