Walmart has agreed not to sell certain types of “Black Lives Matter” apparel online after the nation’s biggest police organization urged them to do so. Meanwhile, the retail giant is continuing to sell similar shirts in support of other causes, including Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.
Chuck Canterbury, president and CEO of the national Fraternal Order of Police, wrote a letter to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon on Tuesday, Dec. 20, asking him to remove the third-party T-shirts and sweatshirts designed by Old Glory that say, “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter.”
“I am concerned that allowing these articles to be sold in this way will damage your company’s good name amongst FOP members and other active and retired law enforcement officers,” Canterbury said.
He also pointed to efforts made by police organizations to unite police and the communities they serve, and said such apparel will harm potential connections.
“Turning a buck on strained relationships will not contribute to the healing process,” he added. “This should be a time for joy and no family who has lost a son or daughter, whether in the line of duty or in a tragic event, should have their pain turned into someone else’s profit.
Letter from National President Canterbury to Walmart President and CEO regarding third party sellers of BLM gear on the company website. pic.twitter.com/BLu1Eb0iND
— FOP Legislative (@FOPLegislative) December 20, 2016
The Washington Post reported Walmart buckled to the FOP’s plea in a statement issued late Tuesday night, saying it will no longer offer the “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter” merchandise but it will continue to sell other “Black Lives Matter” apparel.
“Like other online retailers, we have a marketplace with millions of items offered by third parties that include Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter merchandise,” the statement said. “After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the ‘bulletproof’ reference.”
Executive Director of the Washington FOP Jim Pasco told The Post organization members brought up the issue over concern about anti-police clothing.
“There are a lot of people who feel too many guns are sold,” Pasco told the newspaper. “Why not speak out against things that might be seen as fomenting violence, rather than things that commit violence?”
However, Walmart is not the only retailer Canterbury fired off a letter to. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, the national FOP president sent a similarly worded note to Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos. The company has yet to respond.