According to Walmart, the chain plans to ban a woman whose racist tirade went viral earlier this week. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was apparently shopping at the Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart on Monday when the racist incident took place and was caught on video. Her target was initially another shopper, who happened to be Hispanic. However, as the viral video demonstrated, she quickly got vulgar and abusive with an African-American customer and a store manager who tried to defuse the situation.
The video of the racist encounter was shared to Facebook on Monday evening, and in it, the woman who Walmart now plans to ban can be heard telling Eva Hicks, a mom of three, to “go back to Mexico.” When an unidentified African-American woman refers to her behavior as “ignorant,” the soon-to-be banned shopper can be seen and heard on video responding, “a n***er’s calling me ignorant?”
According to Hicks, the entire altercation began when she politely said “excuse me” and asked the woman to move so that she could reach some medicine on the shelf behind her. After video of the racist Walmart incident went viral, the retail chain responded by saying that their manager did the right thing by asking the irate woman to leave the store. However, as CNN reports, hundreds of people took to social media to say that they believed the woman deserved a harsher punishment for her racist Walmart tirade.
Walmart took to social media to assure those angry about Eva Hicks’ treatment, including Shaun King (who demanded that she be banned for life), that the behavior of the woman in the viral video “cannot be tolerated.” Through @WalmartNewsroom, a Walmart spokesperson also vowed that the retail giant was “continuing to look into the matter.”
On Wednesday afternoon, media outlets began to report that they will be asking the unidentified woman to no longer shop at any of its stores as a result of her racist attack caught on tape.
According to Eva Hicks, the primary victim of the woman’s allegedly unprovoked verbal abuse, the woman became aggressive as soon as Hicks politely asked her to move. As the woman’s torrent of hate continued in the Walmart medicine aisle, Hicks decided to take out her phone and start recording the unbelievable incident.
“She moved back her cart and immediately started saying that people bother her on every aisle, and started saying more hateful things to me. I am an American citizen, I consider this home. I am not going to leave, I am going to stay here, I am not going to shut up, I am going to speak up.”
In the video, the woman can be heard telling Hicks to “go back to Mexico,” that “we” don’t want her here, and that the United States is not her country. Hicks says that while she was born in Mexico City, she has lived in the U.S. for over three decades and is a U.S. citizen. What’s more, she says that in more than 30 years, she has never been subjected to the kind of racist treatment she endured while shopping at Walmart on Monday.
Hicks says that she posted the disturbing video to her Facebook page in an effort to raise awareness of this kind of racist behavior. She claims that she has seen an increase in people reporting this kind of public racism over the last few months, and she believes that she knows why the unidentified woman felt empowered and emboldened to unleash a racist tirade in the middle of an Arkansas Walmart — namely, a new presidential administration.
“I have seen a lot of these incidents lately, I believe ever since the Trump administration came into power, he can say hateful things to other races and other countries, these people think it’s okay for them to do the same.”
A spokesperson for Walmart claims that the woman in the racist viral video has yet to be identified, but that Walmart is working to figure out who she is. The spokesperson added, “once identified we will ask she no longer shops at our stores.”
What do you think about the way this incident was handled? Did Walmart make the right decision by choosing to ban the woman behind the racist verbal assault, or is a lifetime ban too extreme? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Amy Sancetta/AP Images]