On Tuesday, Walmart apologized for releasing a “Juneteenth” themed ice cream after receiving intense backlash online.
A Walmart spokesperson said in a statement after cancelling the ice cream, “Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence. However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”
One Twitter user named Kevin said, “Apparently Walmart has Great Value Juneteenth celebration edition ice cream, swirled red velvet and cheesecake flavored ice cream, and this is what happens when you commercialize federal holidays. It just became a federal holiday, now you can celebrate with this ice cream. But wait, there’s more!”
The man continued to point out other products that the retailer is selling for the new federal holiday including Juneteenth party supplies, wine, t shirts, and Juneteenth water bottles.
“And I am so upset about this, what I need Walmart to do is send me all this ice cream just so I can taste it and make sure it is wrong!” the man joked at the end of the video.
The backlash was swift with many calling the ice cream tone-deaf.
“We said we want the reparations we are owed. They gave us Representatives kneeling in Kente cloth, ice cream and party decorations,” read one tweet referring to Democrat politicians kneeling after the George Floyd killing.
Some people online pointed out that Walmart chose to sell under it’s Great Value brand instead of promoting actual black-owned businesses as part of the federal holiday.
Walmart quickly pulled the ice cream from its shelves and in a statement obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles, “Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence. However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”
A reporter for WRAL-TV, a CNN affiliate in North Carolina, found the Juneteenth ice cream at a store, but when they tried to buy it, it was marked “unavailable for purchase.” According to a store employee, Walmart is “throwing the ice cream out.”
Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is now a federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed a bill making it one in 2021. It celebrates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and told residents that the slavery had been abolished. Many African-Americans celebrate it similarly to the fourth of July with parties, picnics and other family gatherings.
Do you think that Walmart made a tone-deaf decision to release the ice cream? Let us know your thoughts below.