Fox News reports that after numerous complaints, Walmart has announced that it will end the sale of a T-shirt that promoted a threatening message. The complaints came primarily from a journalism advocacy group, which argued that the T-shirt shouldn't be sold through Walmart since it promoted a very dangerous message.
The shirt reads, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED." It was being sold on Walmart.com through a third-party company, Treespring.
Walmart made very clear that the product was being sold not by them, but by a third-party seller on the Walmart marketplace. They also made clear that the shirt violated their company policy, and hence it was only being sold without the full knowledge of Walmart. As soon as the shirt was brought to their attention, they removed it from their online store and conducted a thorough review of Treespring's products.
"This item was sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace and clearly violates our policy," Walmart said. "We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention, and are conducting a thorough review of the seller's assortment.”
"We do not allow content that promotes or glorifies harm or violence to individuals or others," they said.
According to Fox News, Treespring has also confirmed that the shirt has now been pulled from the Walmart website. It is no longer available to consumers. Moreover, Fox reports that this isn't the first time that Treespring has been under fire for a controversial shirt. In August, for example, the company promised that it would increase its regulations and oversight of their products after it was discovered that one of their shirts was featuring a swastika.
Business Insider writes that the shirt first gained public attention in 2016 after Reuters took a picture of a man wearing the shirt to a presidential campaign rally. The shirt can be seen displayed above. Once the photo gained notice on social media, Treespring quickly stopped selling the shirt.
At some point during the year, however, it returned to the website and made its way to Walmart's online store.
The t-shirt comes at a point when increased tensions exist between politicians, citizens, and the mainstream media. President Trump has recently declared a war on the "Fake News" media, and Trump supporters are increasingly suspicious of reports coming out by the mainstream media. The media, in response, has waged an unprecedented war on the president, using their presses to turn public opinion against Trump and Republicans who adhere to his nationalist, populist vision for the country. They have also attempted to be more careful of their facts.
This also comes at a point in time where legitimate Fake News is very prominent throughout the internet, although not usually from the mainstream media.
In recent news, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty for lying to the F.B.I.