Walmart removes ‘inappropriate’ boots from online marketplace: ‘Inconsistent with our values’
(NEXSTAR) – Walmart has removed a pair of boots from its online marketplace after it was determined the item violated the company’s “prohibited product policy,” according to the retailer. The boots, which were offered by a third-party seller on the company’s Walmart Marketplace, were emblazoned with the letters “KKK” on the tongue of each shoe.
It’s unclear why the letters — which are commonly associated with the Ku Klux Klan — were printed on the $50 boots. The third-party seller appeared to be a company called “Harsuny,” and the footwear was listed as only “Men’s Tactical Military Hiking Ankle Boot Outdoor Trekking Shoes,” according to a screengrab of the item’s listing shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who reportedly brought the issue to Walmart’s attention on Saturday.
Walmart confirmed to Nexstar that the item had been removed from its marketplace over the weekend. The shoes were never offered for sale in-store, a representative said.
“This item was listed by an outside third-party seller and removed because the item is inconsistent with our values and violates Walmart’s prohibited product policy,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement shared with Nexstar. “Like other major retailers, we operate an online marketplace that allows third-party sellers to offer merchandise to customers through our eCommerce platform. We have a process in place designed to prevent third party sellers from offering inappropriate items on our platform. Still, at times, inappropriate items make their way onto our platform.
“We are reviewing how this happened and will apply what we learn to further improve our rules and processes to prevent the sale of inappropriate merchandise.”
As first reported by Business Insider earlier this week, CAIR issued a press release thanking Walmart for removing what CAIR called “oddly/poorly named ‘KKK’ boots” from its platform.
A representative for Walmart confirmed the company had been in contact with the third-party seller about the item “to understand how this occurred,” but could not disclose further details. As of Wednesday, at least a few other items from Harsuny were still available on Walmart’s online platform, though many had been removed.
This isn’t the first time an item from one of Walmart’s third-party sellers has come under fire. In recent years, the retail giant has removed T-shirts joking about lynching of journalists, according to the Associated Press, as well as a graphic tee reading, “I’d Rather Be Snorting Cocaine Off a Hooker’s —,” Mashable reported. The company had also once removed a third-party seller’s online listing for a mug playing on the “Got Milk?” campaign slogan, albeit with “milk” replaced by a slur for people with disabilities, Grub Street reported.
Just this year, a children’s toy sold through a third-party seller via Walmart’s online marketplace was removed after videos of the “joke-telling” play phone went viral. As reported by TODAY, among the “jokes” the toy could play for users was a reference to Catholic priests and sexual abuse. The toy was immediately pulled by the company.