Walmart will stop selling merchandise emblazoned with the “All Lives Matter” slogan because some people are using the phrase to downplay the “painful reality of racial inequity” that Black people face, representatives for the megaretailer said.
Walmart previously offered goods with the phrase from third-party vendors on the company’s website, but said Tuesday that the items would be pulled “indefinitely,‘ according to USA Today.
The megastore said in a statement that the decision was made after employees and customers alike reached out with concerns about the message’s meaning.
Walmart said items with the phrase would be pulled because some people use “All Lives Matter” to intentionally minimize racism in America.
Last week, Walmart faced backlash on social media for offering goods with different variations of the slogan on their website, including t-shirts that read “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and “Irish Lives Matter,” that critics said mocked the Black Lives Matter movement.
Walmart announced Wednesday it would no longer fly the Mississippi flag at stores, an extension of its 2015 policy to not sell Confederate flags, just days before state legislators voted to change the current state flag.
“We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect,” Walmart told USA Today in a 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.”
Walmart is the latest company to shift its previous policies after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis kicked off a renewed vigor in American anti-racism protests. Brands like Uncle Ben’s are undergoing a marketing rehaul after critics said their branding was based on racial stereotypes, and the Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup packaging will be replaced altogether, Quaker Oats said earlier this month. The Dixie Beer brand and the band The Dixie Chicks also announced last week they would drop the word “Dixie,” a nostalgic term for the South dating from the Civil War that has connotations with slavery, from their names.