Walmart yanked Black Lives Matter T-shirts after the country’s largest police union objected to the apparel it deemed highly offensive. The Bulletproof Black Lives Matter shirts were available from a vendor to the big box chain’s website.
The national Fraternal Order of Police union demanded that Walmart remove the Bulletproof Black Lives Matter shirts after accusing the chain store of “profiting from racial division,” the New York Daily News reports.
— Limpbizquick (@P90xbogie) December 21, 2016
While Walmart almost immediately removed the T-shirts and hoodies that said “BULLETPROOF” in large bold letters with “Black Lives Matter” written below it, the mega store chain has not announced any plans to discontinue the rest of its Black Lives Matter merchandise from its shelves.
National Fraternal Order of Police President, Chuck Canterbury, wrote a letter to Walmart on Tuesday staunchly criticizing the store’s decision to sell the Bulletproof Black Lives Matter shirts. The shirts were offered on the chain’s website via a vendor named Old Glory Merchandise. The items pulled from Walmart are still available for sale on several websites, including Etsy and eBay, according to Law Officer.
“At a time of year when we as a nation and indeed, as a world, should be coming together in hopes of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, these third party sellers are profiting from racial division,” Canterbury said in the Walmart Black Lives Matter letter. “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another. Turning a buck on strained relationships will not contribute to the healing process.”
The police union leader also said he knows the request to pull the Black Lives Matter shirts will be “seriously considered” by Walmart officials.
“I am concerned that allowing these articles to be sold in this way will damage your company’s good name among FOP members and other active and retired law enforcement officers,” Canterbury also said in the letter to Walmart.
The Bulletproof shirts and hoodies were no longer available for purchase by the end of the same day.
— C M (@dahle44) December 21, 2016
If a customer clicks on the Bulletproof Black Lives Matter shirt or hoodie listing an error message now pops up.
The message reads, “We’re having technical difficulties and are looking into the problem now.”
The hoodies were reportedly selling for $36.95 each.
Walmart has stated the Black Lives Matter Bulletproof shirts were being removed “after hearing complaints from customers.” Officials at the store did not address whether or not the rest of the Black Lives Matter apparel, gifts, or decor items would also be removed from their online marketplace.
A quick search of the Walmart website reveals there are a plethora of “lives matter” apparel items and gear available for purchase. Customers can place items with “Black Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and “All Lives Matter,” slogans on them into a virtual cart and for purchase.
Angst over the Bulletproof Black Lives Matter T-shirts and hoodies emerged after the Breitbart website ran an article about the items being sold last week.
The Black Lives Matter (or BLM) movement and slogan began in 2012 after the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, the Washington Post notes. Activists began appearing in several major cities around the United States after police-involved shootings of young black men. The Blue Lives Matter slogans and counter-protests emerged after controversial shootings in Ferguson and Baltimore prompted rioting and nationwide media coverage.
What do you think about the Walmart Black Lives Matter shirts being offered for sale and then removed?
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