Walmart and Sears announced today that they will cease to sell any products emblazoned with the confederate flag either in their stores or on their websites.
“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told CNN.”
“We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances.”
The retailers’ decision comes a week after a white gunman, who allegedly wanted to start a “race war,” shot and killed nine people inside a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Walmart.com currently carries the confederate flag as well as other products with the emblem like belt buckles and T-shirts.
Sears on the other hand – which manages the Sears and Kmart stores – does not have flags in their stores, but the items are sold through third parties online. And, according to company spokesperson, Chris Brathwaite, these sales will not continue for long as Sears has also chosen to stop selling confederate flag merchandise.
Furthermore, though Target’s website does not show the flag being sold, Reuters reports that a spokesperson promised to check with the company’s merchandising team for confirmation of its sale.
Amazon currently has a wide range of confederate flag-related items on its website from T-shirts and folding knives to blankets and even shower curtains.
While eBay, with its “offensive material policy” that forbids the sale of products that “promote hatred or racial supremacy including historic and current items,” also sells the confederate flag in addition to other items such as jewelry, handbags and belt buckles.
Several inquiries by media outlets to Amazon and Ebay about whether or not they will be removing confederate flag merchandise from their websites have so far gone unanswered.
Walmart and Sears’ move to cease the sale of the controversial products also came on the same day that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley declared at a news conference that lawmakers should remove the flag from the state capitol grounds as it was time to do so. The flag is considered by many to be a symbol of slavery and racism.
“This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Haley proclaimed to thunderous cheers and applause.
Subsequent to the governor’s announcement, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn also stated that the symbol is offensive and should be removed from his state’s flag.
[Image via ABC News]