Walmart has pulled a controversial T-shirt threatening violence against journalists from its website, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
The RTDNA on Thursday announced that Walmart had stopped selling the product online the day before after it sent a letter to the retail giant’s top executives requesting its removal.
The shirt featured the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” suggesting the hanging of media members.
“We are grateful for Walmart’s swift action, but dismayed that it, and anyone else selling the shirt, would offer such an offensive and inflammatory product,” RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley said in a statement.
“We live in an environment in which political and ideological discourse has deteriorated to the level where some find it appropriate to advocate violence targeting journalists merely for performing their Constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth,” he added.
The RTDNA said that Walmart removed the clothing from its website within five hours of receiving Shelley’s letter on Wednesday.
Walmart on Thursday explained that such products are not welcome in its online store, adding it would examine other items listed by the shirt’s seller.
“This item was sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace and clearly violates our policy,” a Walmart spokesperson said, according to The Hill.
“We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention, and are conducting a thorough review of the seller’s assortment,” they added.
The RTDNA identified the third-party seller as Teespring.com, adding that the vendor had removed the shirt from its own website within 24 hours of Walmart’s move.
The shirt’s slogan has existed for many years, and it gained infamy during the 2016 presidential election when people began wearing it at public events like campaign rallies.
A photograph of a man wearing the shirt went viral last year, for example, after it was taken at a Minneapolis campaign rally for now-President Trump days before his White House win.
Trump has had an often tense relationship with the media, labeling its reports he finds biased or inaccurate “fake news.”