The hypermarket retail chain Walmart (a DiversityInc 25 Noteworthy Company) has apologized after failing to realize that their website used a racial slur to describe a wig cap that was being sold on their site.
The listing was first brought to attention on Monday when Twitter user Kwani Lunis uploaded a screenshot of the product page, where the color description says, “Nigger-Brown” following the size description.
“Hey @Walmart what are you doing” Lunis tweeted as the caption of the photo.
Travon Free, who is a comedian and writer that won an Emmy for his work on “The Daily Show” and currently writes for “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” pointed out that Walmart’s retail competitor, Amazon, has the same item listed on their site but without offensive language.
The retail chain even received a tweet from New York Times best seller author Roxane Gay, who described the oversight as “far past unacceptable.”
Walmart responded back to Gay, agreeing with her sentiments on the social media platform.
In an effort to set matters straight, Ragan Dickens, Walmart’s national media relations director, told HuffPost that the company is “appalled” over this incident and is working to fix it.
Shortly after the backlash, the offensive product description had been removed; however, it was still visible further down the page, according to HuffPost, which Twitter users mentioned.
Walmart eventually took the listing down and replaced it with the disclaimer that each product is “provided by manufacturers, suppliers and others, and has not been verified by us.”
“We are very sorry and appalled that this third-party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace,” Dickens said in a statement. “It is a clear violation of our policy, and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
There was even some confusion regarding the third-party seller, Jagazi Naturals, that was listed as the vendor on Walmart’s website, who said they had “nothing to with listing” nor that they have an account with the retail chain.
The Black-owned company, based in the U.K.posted a statementon their website Monday claiming that someone else used the name to list the item.
“We woke up this morning to the news that someone has used our name Jagazi to list an item,” the company said. “Please beware that we are reporting this to as many people as we can and trying to get all the listings pulled down. The real Jagazi is a 100% Black company for Black people. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their fake products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well.Most shocking!”
Chizo Onuh, who is the owner of Jagazi, told HuffPost’s Taryn Finley via email, “A lot of sellers all over the internet are using my brand name to try and sell their products to my client base.”
Onuh continued, “I am a proud Black woman focused on the ethnic hair products for my fellow Black women.”
Walmart later confirmed that the product is sold by a third-party seller that is not Jagazi Naturals, and that the $480 billion retail chain, which ranks No. 1 on Fortune’s 500 list, is currently in the process of suspending their account while they further investigate the issue.