Walmart Was Once Again Forced to Pull an Offensive Shirt From Its Website
This is the third time in seven months the retailer has found itself under fire for a shirt sold on its website. As with the previous apparel that elicited complaints, the shirts were sold by a third-party vendor. (The shirts, as of Thursday morning, were not on Walmart’s U.S. website.)
The descriptive text is quite graphic, mentioning fetish acts and featuring rambling stories that paint women as promiscuous.
The frequency of these complaints raises questions about how seriously the company is taking its past vows to review third party sellers.
In December, Walmart came under fire for a shirt it sold which read “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”
Facing protests, the company quickly pulled the shirt from its site, saying in a statement: “As soon as we were alerted to this content promoting violence against journalists we removed the content, added this content to our automated scanning systems, and kicked off a human sweep of the site to find and remove any similar content.”
Earlier this month, it found itself in a similar position when Donald Trump supporters threatened a boycott of the store after discovering it offered shirts and other items that read “Impeach 45.” Within 24 hours, the company removed the items and issued a very similar statement: “These items were sold by third party sellers on our open marketplace, and were not offered directly by Walmart. We’re removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies.”
In a statement following the protest over the Walmart Canada Website incident, the refrain was the same. “We sincerely apologize for any unintended offence this has caused our customers,” the company told CBC News. “The descriptions accompanying these tees do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our site.”
Walmart did not immediately reply to a Fortune request for comment on what it’s doing to prevent future issues surrounding offensive third party content on its website.
Sauce Hockey, the retailer selling the shirts, also apologized for the descriptors. New owners took over three years ago and said they had no idea about the product descriptions.
“The descriptions are offensive and sexist and even though neither I, or the current management of Sauce were involved in the Company when they were made, I wanted to take the time to apologize for the content,” said Daryl Jones, an investor in the company, on the Facebook post calling attention to the matter. “I fundamentally believe, so does Sauce the company, that there is no place in hockey for the type of sexist culture that is implied by these t-shirt descriptions. We are going to reach out to anyone that is selling these shirts to make sure they are taken down and, as appropriate, buy back and destroy the inventory.”
Those efforts aren’t going as fast as the company may like. Walmart has pulled shirts with sexist descriptions, but several were still available at the time of writing (including one whose description reads “Why carry an ANCHOR on your Wake Setter boat when all you need to do is tie some boat lines to your wife’s ankle and toss her in the water…she knows her place..the price you pay for glamour.”) on Amazon’s Website.
Amazon did not immediately reply to Fortune‘s request for comment.