A Walmart September 11 display was taken down after it caused a social media uproar. A Twitter user known as online_shawn had taken a picture of the display and posted it with the caption “Florida c’mon man.”
The display itself wasn’t intended to be offensive, though. Above it hung a banner clearly stating “We will never forget” against a background image of the New York City skyline. They were paying homage to those lost in one of the biggest man-made disasters on U.S. soil 15 years ago.
Florida c’mon man pic.twitter.com/HU4y2rxgFG
— Shawn (@online_shawn) September 6, 2016
Below the banner in Walmart’s September 11 display was a bunch of Coca-Cola cans in 12-pack cases. Diet Coke cases were used to resemble the stars and stripes on the U.S. flag, while blue Sprite cases were used for the background of the stars. Red Coca-Cola Classic cases were used for the stripes. However, what was deemed offensive was the twin stacks of Coke Zero used to resemble the fallen towers, piled like Jenga pieces, according to MSN News.
Walmart removes Coke display in shape of doomed World Trade Center https://t.co/8PlvV7LCF2
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 9, 2016
Sadly, if someone removed one of the cases of Coke Zero, it might have caused a bigger uproar as the tower might have toppled.
— MSN (@MSN) September 9, 2016
This wasn’t quite as offensive as a similar display in Atlanta, Georgia, when a couple of cosplayers dressed up as burning towers, with Barbie dolls placed in the middle to resemble falling people. Some claimed they were actually paying homage to an anime about flaming wraiths causing people to jump out of towers to their deaths. The couple left shortly after having photos taken, but the damage was done.
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) September 9, 2016
Walmart store’s 9/11 Coke can display causes social media furor | SOFREP https://t.co/NxZ4arKwwh
— Chris Pierce (@chrispiercesc) September 9, 2016
The Florida Walmart’s September 11 display had been taken down after Twitter raged about its offensive imagery on Wednesday. The company had gone on to state that they didn’t mean to upset anyone.
“We hold this moment in our country’s history in the highest regard, and there was nothing disrespectful intended by the display.”
Technically, if anyone else was to blame for the display, it would have been Coca-Cola. Walmart employees don’t build displays for vendor products such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Orowheat (or Arnold on the East Coast), or Frito Lay. Vendors set those up with the store’s approval.
— ABC7News (@ABC7News) September 9, 2016
— FTVLive (@FTVLive) September 8, 2016
Some have realized this and attempted to contact the beverage company. The bottling company has apologized and stated that the Walmart September 11 display was meant to honor local firefighters, says Fox News.
“We sincerely apologize that anyone was offended or misunderstood its intent, and we have replaced the display.”
Many on Twitter were outraged by Walmart’s September 11 Coke display, while others poked fun and made jokes. This may be the norm for many users of the site, but the original intention of the display was to honor the efforts of firefighters and remember the fallen.
Today, we are no longer a Post 9/11 society. Today, we are a Post Wal-Mart Depicting 9/11 With Coke Cans Society. pic.twitter.com/kwCQntWebU
— Gabriel Gundacker (@gabegundacker) September 8, 2016
Do you think Walmart’s September 11 display was tasteless, or did social media get the wrong message?
[Image via DeymosHR/Shutterstock.com]