Walmart has determined that a photo making the rounds on the internet showing a sign that reads “Own The School Year Like A Hero” on top of a gun display was just a prank.
The store gave its assessment of a picture linking gun sales to school preparedness. The photo, tweeted by @OMGItsBirdman, caused a lot of controversy on the internet due to sensitivity about school shootings. It has been retweeted more than 41,000 times.
“We have definite proof it was a prank,” Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told The Associated Press on Friday. “This is a result of a collective effort by a number of associates who take things like this seriously.”
Crowson did not specify what proof Walmart had and he did not say that the sign was placed there for a staged photo, but this seems to be what happened — by whom, we do not know.
The photo was posted on Wednesday, and a look at Walmart’s tweets and replies on its official Twitter account shows that it has been responding with apologies around the clock since then.
As USA Today noted, many of these responses called the sign “terrible,” “definitely NOT okay” and a “regrettable situation.”
Walmart initially identified the store as no. 1341, which is in Evansville, Indiana, but is now saying that wasn’t the case.
After the post appeared this week, a number of people criticized the company on social media, expressing disgust. Among the samples: “Lemme just scoop my jaw off the floor,” and “I’ve seen a lot of disturbing pictures of folks shopping at WalMart, but this tops them all.”
Some people on social media were wise to this being a prank, while others said the negative swarm to the sign is “why our country sucks.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.