A shirt featuring the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” was available to buy on Walmart’s website, and it had a media watchdog group barking mad.
The offering, which was sold on Walmart.com by third-party seller Teespring.com, could have also been purchased along with a coffee mug with the same “slogan.”
But thanks to a letter sent by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) to the Bentonville, Ark.-based company, the retailer has swiftly pulled the products.
RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley sent a letter pointing out that the message sent by the shirts could “at the least … inflame the passions of those who either don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media. At worst, they openly encourage violence targeting journalists.”
His query was answered less than five hours later by the Walmart Executive Escalations department, saying, “We have forwarded this to the appropriate team to remove it. Walmart.com does appreciate feedback like this so that offensive material does not appear on our website.”
The media group was thrilled by Walmart’s quick reaction, but disappointed that such products could find a market.
The shirt first gained “popularity” after a 2016 Trump pep rally.
— Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) November 6, 2016
“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,” Shelley said. “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.”