- Walmart is facing backlash on social media over a photo of a gun display in one of its stores with a sign hanging overhead that says, “Own the school year like a hero.”
- The photo, which is two years old, was part of a “hoax,” a Walmart spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.
- The photo has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media as Walmart faces growing pressure to stop selling guns in the wake of an August 3 shooting that killed 22 people at one of its stores in El Paso, Texas.
- Many people have used the photo to criticise Walmart’s decision to remove displays for violent video games while continuing to sell guns.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A Walmart gun display that has sparked backlash online was staged, a Walmart spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.
A photo of the display, which has been widely shared online, depicts a case of rifles in a Walmart store with a sign hanging overhead that says, “Own the school year like a hero.” A black graphic on the sign appears to point downward, like an arrow, toward the firearms below.
“We can confirm it was a hoax,” the Walmart spokesman told Business Insider in response to an inquiry regarding the photo’s origins.
The photo is two years old but recently resurfaced online. It has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media as Walmart faces growing pressure to stop selling guns in the wake of an August 3 shooting that killed 22 people at one of its stores in El Paso, Texas.
bruh moment pic.twitter.com/W1EHvonSx0
— Waffle (@WaffIeBandito) August 8, 2019
The photo sparked widespread backlash when it first appeared online in August 2017. At the time, Walmart condemned the image and said it would investigate the matter.
“What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores,” the company said in a statement at the time, according to USA Today. “We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.”
Walmart ultimately determined that the photo was real – meaning it wasn’t doctored or photoshopped – but that the placement of the school-themed sign was staged, the company spokesman told Business Insider.
Walmart also identified where the photo was taken and who placed the sign, which was part of Walmart’s back-to-school marketing, above the case of guns.
The company declined to identify the parties responsible for the display, but confirmed that no Walmart employees were involved.