Walmart has removed a controversial T-shirt with a simple message — “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED” — from its website, after the Radio Television Digital News Association sent the largest retailer in the U.S. a note flagging the shirt’s message.
As RTDNA said, the shirt was being sold by Walmart with a company called Teespring acting as a third-party seller. The retailer removed the shirt within one day of being notified.
A Walmart spokesperson says the shirt “clearly violates our policy,” adding that the company is reviewing all of the products it sells from Teespring.
The shirt first gained attention a year ago, when a Reuters photographer snapped an image of a man wearing it at a gathering of Trump supporters two days before the November presidential election.
That photo followed multiple reports of journalists being harassed or assaulted while on the campaign trail in 2016; it came months before President Trump issued a tweet in which he called media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN “the enemy of the American people.”
Last November, it was reported that the T-shirt had been removed from the Teespring site after the Reuters photo went viral, but as recently as last week, the site was offering the shirt for $22.95, with the promise that it would arrive by Christmas Eve.
It was the shirt’s appearance on Walmart’s website that prompted RTNDA to send a letter to the retail giant, saying that the shirt could inflame passions and encourage violence.
The shirt has also been taken down from the Teespring site. When we looked at its page on Thursday, it had been replaced by a message saying that the shirt “is no longer available due to content issues.”
A message to Teespring seeking comment was not immediately returned.
It’s not the first item to be taken down by Teespring. In August, the company said that it had removed “a number of designs … that included a swastika, a hate symbol that we do not allow on Teespring.”