Walmart has pulled a controversial "All Lives Matter" t-shirt from its online store after receiving fierce backlash amid the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the globe in response to the police killing of George Floyd. In a statement provided to USA Today, the retailer, which is the largest in the nation, confirmed that it would remove the items "indefinitely" and will instead put emphasis on Black people and other people of color whose lives are being "impacted by ongoing racial injustice.'"
The statement said that Walmart "fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect." The retailer made the decision to remove the t-shirt after hearing from some employees and customers. Such discussions made them "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 t-shirt was part of an "All Lives Matter" line of merchandise that was available for purchase on the retailer's website. That line also included apparel that featured variations of the "Black Lives Matter" slogan, including "All Lives Matter," "Blue Lives Matter," "Irish Lives Matter" and "Homeless Lives Matter." A third-party seller sold the merchandise. Such sellers must pass a review based on a number of criteria, including ensuring the products they sell comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and legal requirements.
As shoppers took notice of the merchandise as they browsed the online store, Walmart faced fierce criticism on social media, many slamming the retailer for selling apparel that could be seen as "mocking" the Black Lives Matter movement. Many deemed the merchandise "racist" and "disturbing," some even calling for social media to "cancel" the retailer.
As the backlash continued, Walmart Canada, in a statement to CBC, "said it "stand[s] against any form of racism or discrimination." It added that "we promote listening, seeking to understand and embracing individual differences" and confirmed that "today, our third-party marketplace has several items with variations on the phrase' lives matter.'" At the time, the retailer promised to "continue to review those items to ensure compliance with our terms and conditions."
According to CNN, the term "All Lives Matter" as born after the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. It has often been used as a rebuttal against the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and the Black Lives Matter movement, which aims to raise awareness about and put an end to racial discrimination and bias and police brutality.