Walmart pulled a Black Lives Matter shirt and hoodie from its online store Wednesday after police accused the retailer of helping third-party sellers profit "from racial division."
The hoodie and shirt that were pulled featured the slogan, "Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter," and were being sold through Walmart Marketplace, the retailer's website that features millions of items from third-party sellers.
On Tuesday, Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, wrote a public letter to Walmart calling out its Marketplace site for selling merchandise that promotes the Black Lives Matter movement, which organizes protests across the US to draw attention to racism and police brutality.
"Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to built greater trust and respect for one another," Canterbury wrote in the letter.
In response, Walmart said in a statement that it would remove apparel that said, "Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter," from its online store.
"Like other online retailers, we have a marketplace with millions of items offered by third parties that includes Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter merchandise," Walmart said in a statement. "After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the 'bulletproof' reference."
The "Bulletproof" shirts are made by Old Glory, an apparel retailer based in Centerbrook, Connecticut that also sells "All Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" shirts through Walmart's website.
The retail giant's website will continue to offer items including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats bearing the words "Black Lives Matter," created and sold by third-party retailers. Walmart's website also features apparel that read "All Lives Matter," "Blue Lives Matter," "Homeless Lives Matter," and "Journalists Lives Matter."
As of Wednesday at 11 a.m., the "Bulletproof" shirt could no longer be accessed on Walmart's website, but other "Black Lives Matter" merchandise remained available.
Breitbart, a right-wing website that has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, published an article last week calling out Walmart for selling "Black Lives Matter" merchandise on its website. Following the publication of Brietbart's article, a number of people took to social media to complain about the shirts.
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