NEW YORK — Walmart is facing heat for selling T-shirts that feature variations of the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, including “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” “Irish Lives Matter” and “Homeless Lives Matter.”
The backlash erupted on social media, where users criticized the world’s largest retailer for allegedly “mocking” the Black Lives Matter movement, which has come to symbolize a call to action against racism and police killings of black people in America.
The slogan was born after the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.
Since then, “Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry, most recently, by protestors nationwide and around the world in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of law enforcement in Minneapolis in June.
The T-shirts are being sold online by Walmart.com and Walmart Canada online.
In a comment to CBC, Walmart Canada said it “stand[s] against any form of racism or discrimination.” “We promote listening, seeking to understand and embracing individual differences. Today, our third-party marketplace has a number of items with variations on the phrase ‘lives matter.’ We will continue to review those items to ensure compliance with our terms and conditions.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the “All Lives Matter” T-shirts were no longer visible on the Walmart Canada website.
Walmart said in an email that its online marketplace includes third-party sellers who must pass a review based on a number of criteria before they are approved to sell items on Walmart.com.
Those include: ensuring the products they sell comply with all applicable laws, regulations, legal requirements, and generally accepted industry standards. Walmart said sellers can’t post illegal or prohibited products.
Still, third-party sellers have gotten Walmart in trouble before. In December, Walmart Canada apologized for making available a Christmas sweater with an apparent drug reference.
And in 2017, the company apologized for an offensive slur used by a third-party seller in a product listing on its website.
T-shirts bearing “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter” and “Irish Lives Matter” slogans are also selling on Amazon. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.