Less than a week after a gunman shot and killed 22 people in an El Paso, Texas Walmart, the retailer is reportedly removing “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior,” including video games. A notice was sent out to employees earlier this week and shared to Twitter by Kenneth Shepard.
Apparently Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as movies and hunting videos. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019
“Review your store for any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior," the notice reads. "Remove from the sales floor or turn off these items immediately."
The notice goes on to instruct employees to “turn off or unplug any video game display consoles that show a demo of violent games, including PlayStation and Xbox units.” It also instructs employees to “cancel events promoting combat style or third-person shooter games,” “turn off any hunting season videos,” and remove any sings “referencing combat or third-person shooter video games.”
The notice has since made the rounds on both Twitter and Reddit, with one employee confirming it to Vice.
“I went into work yesterday and they handed me a copy of the instructions to remove the violent signage and gaming displays," an anonymous employee told the outlet. “And I immediately threw it away because it’s obviously a way to shift the blame from the real problem regarding the mass shootings. I didn’t get to confirm this yesterday but they aren’t doing anything about the sales of guns and ammo in the store."
The notice was sent after Walmart employees staged a walkout Wednesday to protest gun sales. Shortly after the Saturday shooting, Thomas Marshall, a 23-year-old category manager at Walmart in San Bruno, California, sent a mass email to 20,000 employees encouraging them to call in sick Tuesday, stage a walkout on Wednesday, and sign a Change.org petition to “stop the sale of guns at Walmart stores” that now has more than 50,000 signatures.
In his address to the nation shortly after the shooting, which came on the heels of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting as well as a separate shooting at a Mississippi Walmart that left two dead and was followed by a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump blamed violent video games for the massacres.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace,” he said.
Addressing the shootings in his own statement, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon pledged a “thoughtful and deliberate” response, though he did not expand on what actions the company would take moving forward, nor did he comment on calls to remove firearms from Walmart stores.