Walmart will no longer sell “All Lives Matter” merchandise on its website, the company announced Monday.
In recent weeks, the retail giant faced backlash for carrying T-shirts that featured variations of the Black Lives Matter slogan, including “Blue Lives Matter,” “Irish Lives Matter,” and “Homeless Lives Matter” online, WRAL reported.
For some, the variations make a “mockery” of the racial and social justice movement, which was founded after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Black teen Trayvon Martin in 2013.
Though the items are sold by third parties, Walmart said it will remove “All Lives Matter” apparel from the site “indefinitely” after employees and customers voiced concern about the message behind the merchandise, a company spokesperson told McClatchy News in a statement.
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“We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect,’‘ Walmart said in the statement. “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.”
The retail giant said it will focus on Black people and other people of color whose lives are affected “by ongoing racial injustice.”
The move comes amid renewed conversations about racial injustice after the deaths of George Floyd, who died in police custody after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for about eight minutes, and other Black Americans killed at the hands of police.
Earlier this month, Walmart announced it would no longer display the Mississippi state flag bearing the Confederate battle flag emblem, the Biloxi Sun Herald previously reported.
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“We believe it’s the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart’s position to not sell merchandise with the Confederate flag from stores and online sites, as part of our commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve,” company spokesperson Anne Hatfield told McClatchy News.
The Mississippi state legislature recently voted to remove the rebel emblem.
While “All Lives Matter” apparel will no longer appear on Walmart’s online marketplace, other variations such as “Blue Lives Matter” will still be available for purchase, a company spokesperson said.
“We are also increasing our scrutiny of various ‘Lives Matter’ products on our marketplace to ensure compliance with our terms and conditions,” Walmart added in its statement.