Walmart has announced it will stop selling T-shirts that read “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” the same day police called to protest. On Dec. 20th, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which is the largest police organization in the U.S., requested that Walmart cease selling tees and sweatshirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” and “Bulletproof” on the store’s website. That same night, Walmart “said it would remove the shirts which say”‘Bulletproof,” but not the “Black Lives Matter” shirts.
FOP President Chuck Canterbury sent a letter to Walmart CEO C. Douglas McMillon advising him Walmart’s website was selling “offensive shirts and sweatshirts,” writing, “I urge you to prohibit the use of the Walmart name and website for the retail sale of these products.” He added: “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 added, “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another.”
In response: Walmart issued a statement that said: “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. After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the ‘bulletproof’ reference.” The “bulletproof” shirts say “Bulletproof” with “Black Lives Matter” beneath that line.
According to Chris Kappelman, the head buyer for Old Glory, which offers the shirts to Walmart, “Walmart had not contacted his company before removing some of their product. But he noted that Old Glory sells more than a half million shirts, including ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘All Matter Matters,’ and they were not looking to offend anyone. He said they had removed the “Bulletproof” shirts from other third-party sites as well,” reported The Washington Post.
The Fraternal Order of Police also followed up with a similar letter to Amazon.com.