In July 2018 social media users called for a boycott of Walmart after they noticed that the retail giant’s web site was offering clothing items adorned with the words “Impeach 45”:
.@walmart why are you selling Impeach 45 baby clothes on your website?????
What kind of message are you trying to send? https://t.co/PwI4nCVAZx
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) July 3, 2018
The “Impeach 45” slogan, which reference the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, adorned a variety of products such as t-shirts, baby clothes, and frisbees offered via Walmart’s online marketplace:
Although these products were advertised on Walmart’s web site, they weren’t actually being manufactured or sold directly by Walmart — as Bloomberg noted, third-party vendors can sign up to promote their products on Walmart’s web site. On the right side of the above-displayed graphic, for instance, the words “sold & shipped by Old Glory” and “sold & shipped by City Shirts” can be seen next to these product listings:
The t-shirts weren’t being sold by Walmart itself, but by third-party sellers including Old Glory and Teespring Inc. Such sellers can sign up to advertise products on Walmart’s website, and the retail giant gets a commission on each sale. As news outlets began to report on the shirts, the original listings were no longer available.
The “Impeach 45” products were quickly removed from the Walmart web site after the controversy broke, as a spokesperson for the company told USA Today: “These items were sold by third-party sellers on our open marketplace and were not offered directly by Walmart,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “We’re removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies.”
Although Walmart may have removed these items from their web site, similar products are still available from a variety of online vendors. Glenn Morelli, president of Old Glory, said that the company sells thousands of politically-charged t-shirts and that they would continue to offer the “Impeach 45” shirts: “We carry over 10,000 politically inspired T-shirts dealing with all aspects of politics, from liberal to conservative thought. We are an American company and we are proud to be American, and this is what we do: We sell T-shirts for a living.”
This isn’t the first time that Walmart has been the focus of criticism for listing online products offered by a third-party vendors on their web site. In November 2017, the company removed shirts with the slogan “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.” And year prior, the company was similarly criticized for including a gory third-party Halloween item featuring a “Suicide Scar Wound.”
Tobin, Ben. “Walmart’s ‘Impeach 45’ Apparel Causes Social Media Outcry, Calls for Boycott of Retailer.”
USA Today.. 3 July 2018.
Gaydos, Ryan. “Walmart Pulls Controversial ‘Impeach 45’ Clothing from Website After Harsh Feedback.”
Fox News.. 4 July 2018.
Parmar, Hema. “Walmart Draws Fire from Third-Parties’ ‘Impeach 45’ T-Shirts.”
Bloomberg.. 3 July 2018.