A central Iowa mother is upset at Walmart after employees refused to print photos that portray her breastfeeding her young daughter. Whitney Walters claims the Walmart employees informed her two photos were in strict violation of Walmart’s anti-nudity policy.
According to the Des Moines Register, Walters took her undeveloped photos to a Walmart in Knoxville, Iowa. Her daughter is now six years old. The undeveloped film contained photos taken of her daughter when she was five days old, four months old, and nine months old. She expressed that she wanted the prints to look back on her daughter’s stages of growth and to preserve the memories by placing the photos in a scrapbook. She was shocked to receive a call stating Walmart would not print the photos due to nudity.
Walters states the photos in question simply showed her breastfeeding her daughter, nothing sexual in nature at all. A third photo showed her young daughter, as a baby, naked in a kiddie pool.
Employees would not budge on their decision and told Walters she needed to speak to the store manager about the issue if she had a complaint. Three days later, the store manager told her that due to Walmart corporate policy, he could not allow the images to be printed. Instead, he recited the policy to her.
“Unlawful, harmful, threatening, harassing, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or otherwise unsuitable as determined by WALMART.COM.”‘
According to KCCI Des Moines Channel 8, the same employees printed other photos of Walter breastfeeding, but the manager could not explain the difference in the decision to print those particular images.
After the news of Walter’s experience hit media outlets, Walmart spokeswoman Betsy Harden stated that Walmart is not against printing the breastfeeding photos, clarifying the entire situation is just a misunderstanding and over-interpretation of the policy. She also stated it is up to the store’s staff to decide whether a photo is in violation of the anti-nudity policy. However, she also stated all stores will receive a reminder that breastfeeding is not considered nudity. In addition, she made it clear that not only are breastfeeding photos allowed, but breastfeeding in the stores is welcomed.
Despite Harden’s response, Walters feels violated.
“It was very violating. They made it sound like my pictures were sexual in nature, when they’re not, it’s feeding. I felt like they were telling me because I chose to breastfeed my child I can’t have those photographs and those memories because I was doing something that was inappropriate.”
What are your thoughts? Did Walmart go too far in refusing to print the photos?
[Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominquez/Getty Images]