When shopping for a colorful little pillow to add a little sparkle to a room’s decor, the last thing on most people’s wish list is a design featuring a Nazi swastika and the unmistakable face of Adolf Hitler.
So just imagine the shock and distress of Fresno priest Ryan Newman when he discovered the pillow he had ordered from walmart.com, featuring large images of a bicycle, the Eiffel Tower, and the word “Paris,” was also adorned with the unmistakable symbol of the Third Reich and the mustached face of Hitler. The pillow was also covered with the word “Reich.”
The Fresno Bee reports that the Very Rev. Ryan Newman experienced a whirlwind of emotions upon discovering the pillow’s secret images.
Newman admits he was at first dumbfounded, then angry, and then upset.
“To me the swastika is a symbol of hate. It is a symbol of evil.”
Newman discovered the Nazi symbols and face of Hitler on the pillow by accident when he was playing with his 5-month-old daughter one Monday morning.
When the priest purchased the pillow online, described on the Walmart website as a “retro Paris bicycle throw pillow,” he could see it featured images of a bicycle and the Eiffel Tower, but he was unaware of the soft furnishing’s darker elements. He would remain ignorant of the pillow’s sinister side for two months as it sat inconspicuously in his family home.
Newman, who said his work is about “preaching love and tolerance and reconciliation, ” explained that he feels “outraged and violated” that friend and colleagues could have sat next to the “Nazi pillow.”
“I pray none of them noticed the pillow and didn’t say anything. The symbols portrayed on the pillow are offensive and wrong.”
Newman demanded an explanation from Walmart, but the pillow remained on walmart.com for exactly a day after Newman first highlighted its true and insidious nature.
The company has since removed the offending item. They also state that the pillow was listed by a third-party seller.
A Walmart statement reads, “[t]his pillow was listed by a third-party seller on our online marketplace and is in violation of our policy. We regularly scan our marketplace for these types of items, but, unfortunately, the offensive image wasn’t visible on the pillow’s photo and we were not aware of it until the customer reached out. We removed the item immediately and are reviewing the seller’s assortment.”