Walmart is scrubbing its website of third-party merchandise with a slogan widely seen as diminishing the Black Lives Matters movement against police brutality and racism.
The nation’s largest retailer said it’s indefinitely halting sales of items declaring “All Lives Matter” after hearing from some workers and customers who questioned the intent behind the phrase. “We will continue to sell other variations, including ‘Blue Lives Matter”.
“We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect,” the Walmart spokesperson stated. “However, as we listened, we came to understand that some, but not all, people using the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ in the current environment intentionally minimized the focus on the painful reality of racial inequity.”
Walmart in recent days faced criticism on social media for allowing the sale of merchandise viewed by critics as rebutting the Black Lives Matter movement. The slogan became the rallying cry of protesters after the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012 and more recently the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in June.
The retailer’s move is one of many being made by corporations and public figures as the U.S. contends with racism after the killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people by police.
Starbucks earlier this month reversed a policy that had prohibited BLM attire, with the coffee giant now encouraging workers to feel free to “wear your BLM pin or t-shirt.” Taco Bell has also bowed to worker demands that the fast-food chain allow them to wear Black Lives Matters face masks
Six Flags Over Georgia recently apologized for an incident in which a security guard stopped a mother and her three children because they were wearing shirts with slogans associated with the BLM movement.
A 20-restaurant chain based in Baltimore also found itself apologizing after one of its eateries denied service to a Black woman and her nine-year-old son due to his clothing, much like that worn by a White boy shown finishing his meal nearby.
Walmart last week said it had removed the Mississippi flag bearing a Confederate battle emblem from stores in the state, where state lawmakers during the past weekend voted to replace the symbol.