Home Depot is changing the way it sells ropes after learning some customers were using ropes to create nooses in stores. From now on, Home Depot will now only leave pre-cut ropes in the most-commonly sold lengths. Although this was not the first time Home Depot stores discovered nooses left in stores, the changes were made amid the protests against police brutality and racism following George Floyd's death in May.
The home improvement retailer previously sold ropes in spools on display for consumers, who then had them cut for specific lengths by employees. Stating last week though, stores will only sell pre-cut rope in lengths most often ordered. "Unfortunately, we've had some instances where spooled rope was used to create hate symbols and we're not going to tolerate it," Home Depot spokesperson Margaret Smith told Fox Business. "Out of an abundance of caution, we temporarily removed spooled rope from our aisles."
Home Depot did not cite any specific recent examples of nooses being found in stores, but there have been past reports of complaints. In February 2016, an employee saw a noose in the rope aisle and filed a complaint at a Pennsylvania store. Officials said they had "no idea" who made the noose and said it "flies in the face" of the company's values. "This has to stop and nobody wants to work in this type of environment," the employee told CBS Pittsburgh at the time.
Just last year, sisters Lisa and Lyonni Flowers saw a noose at a Delaware Home Depot. A customer came forward and said there was no "racial motive" for the noose, police said. The customer claimed he was making a canopy for a customer who wanted different "rope knots" for decoration, police said, reports Delaware Online.
In June, NASCAR launched an investigation into an apparent noose found in Black driver Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway. The FBI also investigated and said Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime after discovering the noose had been there since last year. Wallace insisted it was a noose though and said he had never seen a garage pull tied like that before. "People that want to call it a garage pull put out old videos and photos of knots as their evidence, go ahead... it's a straight-up noose," Wallace told CNN last month.
On Thursday afternoon, the FBI launched a hate crime investigation in Kalamazoo, Michigan after a noose was found in the press box of the Kalamazoo Central High Schoool's football stadium, reports CNN. "Since we are still in the early stages of investigating this reprehensible offense, we ask for patience as we review surveillance footage and interview witnesses," Kalamazoo Police Chief Bryan Ergang said in a statement.