Walmart Canada investigating after outrage over 'All Lives Matter,' 'Blue Lives Matter' apparel
'Item is sold and shipped by a third-party seller,' company says on Twitter
Walmart Canada said Tuesday it is investigating to see if items sold on its website breach the company's "terms and conditions" after social media users expressed outrage over "All Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" products on its site.
People commented on social media with links to products like an "All Lives Matter" shirt for sale on the Walmart Canada site, and the company responded, saying that the "item is sold and shipped by a third-party seller and is currently being looked into."
Walmart has been selling clothing with the "Lives Matter" slogans, including items featuring the phrases "All Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" (in reference to the police), sparking criticism in the wake of BLM protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
"What is there to 'look into'? It's racist. Remove it," tweeted user Beth MacDonnell.
Sharon Rochester, a teacher in Simcoe, Ont., told CBC News she came across the shirts while shopping for her family.
"I typed in ... Black Lives Matter and the first thing that popped up on the list as you scrolled down was All Lives Matter from Walmart and I'm like, 'You gotta be kidding me. This can't be happening, maybe this is a mistake,' " she said.
"I just immediately posted to all of my friends and I normally don't post publicly, but I decided that this one was important enough to post publicly and I just tagged all of Walmart's different company titles."
In a statement, Walmart Canada said: "We stand against any form of racism or discrimination. We promote listening, seeking to understand and embracing individual differences.
"Today, our third-party marketplace has a number of items with variations on the phrase 'lives matter.' We will continue to review those items to ensure compliance with our terms and conditions."
WATCH | Walmart faces outrage for 'All Lives Matter' products:
Cheryl Thompson, assistant professor at the school of creative industries at Toronto's Ryerson University, said slogans like All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter are reactions embraced by those "trying to resist" the BLM movement's call for police accountability and an end to systemic racism.
"It's the resistance to the resistance, basically," Thompson told CBC News.
"It's not just about you mattering in your existence," she said. "Black Lives Matter is literally a call to action to stop killing us. It's not just about you existing.
"When I see those T-shirts, they miss that narrative. It's actually a big thumb in the face ... to the intention of Black Lives Matter."
In the U.S., Walmart said Tuesday it will no longer display the Mississippi state flag because it includes the Confederate battle emblem.
"We believe it's the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart's position to not sell merchandise with the confederate flag from stores and online sites, as part of our commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve," company spokesperson Anne Hatfield said.
With files from CBC's Jacqueline Hansen and The Associated Press