Wal-Mart has agreed to stop selling T-shirts on its website that bear the slogan “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter.” However, the store says it will continue to sell “Black Lives Matter” merchandise that does not contain the word “bulletproof.”
According to the Washington Post, the decision was prompted by complaints from Fraternal Order of Police president Chuck Canterbury. On Tuesday, Canterbury wrote to Wal-Mart CEO C. Douglas McMillon, saying that the merchandise was an attempt to profit off racial divisions.
“Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater respect for one another. Turning a buck on strained relationships will not contribute to the healing process,” Canterbury wrote.
Fraternal Order of Police (@FOPLegislative) demands @Walmart stop selling #BlackLivesMatter apparel. #IntelGrouphttps://t.co/jyStUgGEyi pic.twitter.com/AU6LphxP8e
— #J20 (@Delo_Taylor) December 21, 2016
CNN reports that the merchandise was not actually being sold by Wal-Mart, but by a third-party vendor, Old Glory Merchandise, on the store’s website. Old Glory owner Glenn Morell told CNN that he had decided to remove the “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter.” T-shirt from his store.
Old Glory Merchandise also offers shirts that contain the slogan “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and other pro-police merchandise along with the “Black Lives Matter” shirts.
This is the second time in as many years that the retailer has agreed to stop selling controversial, racially-charged merchandise. In June 2015, Wal-Mart agreed to stop selling merchandise that contained images of the Confederate flag.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.