Walmart stops selling controversial shirt that encourages lynching journalists

  • Wal-Mart removed a shirt that reads "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED." from its website.
  • The shirt was offered through third-party seller Teespring, which removed the shirt from its site for a second time after first doing so in 2016.
  • A Reuters photograph of a Trump supporter wearing the shirt before the 2016 presidential election made it the subject of controversy.

Walmart has stopped selling a t-shirt that reads, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED." on its website. The shirt was sold on Walmart's website through the third-party seller Teespring.

The shirt first gained notice in 2016 after a Reuters photographer took a picture of a man wearing it in Minnesota two days before the presidential election at an event for Trump supporters. Once the photo gained notice on social media, Teespring stopped selling the shirt. 

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But at some point in the past year, it returned to Teespring's website and made its way to Walmart's. It was available for holiday shipping as recently as last week, according to NPR. This time, an email from the Radio Television Digital News Association to Walmart prompted its removal. The email argued that the shirt was insensitive and potentially dangerous, noting the dozens of journalists who have been killed or assaulted this year.

Soon after receiving the email, Walmart stopped selling the shirt. A spokesperson for the company told NPR that the shirt "clearly violated our policy," and said Walmart would look through the other Teespring merchandise listed on its site to ensure it doesn't contain hateful messaging. Teespring has also removed the shirt from its site, as its terms of service says, "We do not allow content that promotes or glorifies harm or violence to individuals or others."

The shirt came at a time of tension between politicians, citizens, and the media. President Trump has been outspoken in his opposition to outlets he believes to be unfair toward him, and a congressional candidate drew scorn for assaulting a journalist at a campaign event in May.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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