Walmart Gun Display Controversy

Claire Wathen, Staff Writer

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Walmart sparked controversy on Wednesday, August 9th when a back-to-school sign was witnessed hanging over a gun case in one of their stores. The display received many angry and shocked comments from people who believed that it was a nod towards gun violence. Who created the offensive display and what did they mean by it?

The sign, which stated,“Own the school year like a hero,” was actually part of a back-to-school superhero-themed marketing campaign. At first, it was unknown whether the sign was placed above the guns intentionally, or by a customer as a prank.

Attention was first drawn to the display when a twitter user posted a photo of it, prompting a widespread social media backlash and a quick response from Walmart Public Relations. Charles Crowson, Senior Manager of Walmart Media Relations, stated, “What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores. We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.” He also announced that the photo of the display was legitimate and that the company was trying to discover the store in which the photo originated. According to The Washington Post, a woman claimed to have taken the original photo at a store in Evansville, Indiana and Walmart management announced via Twitter that the sign had been taken down. Despite these claims, the actual location of the store is still disputed.

On Saturday, August 12th, a few days after the incident, Walmart confirmed that the sign was placed above the gun display as a prank. This prank, while seemingly harmless, displayed a malicious message that is all too relevant in today’s world. Gun violence in schools is a serious topic and should not be used as the subject of a joke. Despite the company’s statement that it would do all it could to prevent and handle events like this in the future, this incident is only the latest in a series of recent Walmart PR disasters. This raises the question: What next, Walmart?

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