Mega-retailer Walmart has been forced to apologize after consumers complained about a set of ugly Christmas sweaters, sold on its website, with racy and obscene messages, including a shirt that seems to show Santa Claus snorting lines of cocaine.
The store’s Canadian website, Walmart.ca, featured a full line of offbeat holiday attire, GlobalNews.ca reports, but the outfit that attracted the most attention was a blue and white sweater with a snowman on it, dressed as Santa Claus, and presiding over a table with three lines of “snow” and a small pile of “snowballs” on top and the words “Let it Snow” printed in white letters. The shirt doesn’t explicitly say the Santa snowman is snorting illicit drugs, but it’s pretty well implied.
Social media users got the…err…drift.
Can we… talk about this? I just wanna know what in the hell this was meant to be if they didn’t realize it looks like a SNOWMAN DOING COCAINE pic.twitter.com/vLLP2lB4oX
— Gracie Cougar (@cougsge) December 9, 2019
“We all know how snow works. It’s white, powdery and the best snow comes straight from South America,” the product description read, at least before the shirt was pulled off Walmart.ca’s website. “That’s bad news for jolly old St. Nick, who lives far away in the North Pole.”
“That’s why Santa really likes to savour the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A, Colombian snow. He packs it in perfect lines on his coffee table and then takes a big whiff to smell the high quality aroma of the snow,” it continued.
Walmart stores don’t actually sell any sweaters by the controversial retailer, FUN Wear, but FUN Wear uses Walmart’s “retailers” feature to hawk its ugly Christmas clothing on Walmart’s website as a third-party seller. The vast majority of FUN Wear’s offerings are non-controversial, and most feature licensed comic book characters, like the Joker. But FUN Wear also sells some racier items, according to the New York Daily News, and “cocaine Santa” was just one of a handful of sweaters pulled down off Walmart’s site.
“In addition to 70s-era drug addict Santa,” NY Daily News reports, “the sweaters included one showing Mrs. Claus and a de-pantsed Santa in a BDSM pose, captioned ‘Santa has been naughty.’ Another had an alien holding an object while Santa lay with his behind exposed on a table.”
Walmart.ca, however, responded to consumer complaints, pulled the “cocaine Santa” sweater immediately, and issued a statement distancing itself from the product.
“These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on Walmart.ca, do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website. We have removed these products from our marketplace. We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused,” they told GlobalNews.ca.
A number of large, online retailers, like Walmart.com, Amazon.com, and Sears.com, open their platforms to third-party sellers, and the policy routinely backfires, though perhaps not as often as expected given the sheer number of available items.
The “cocaine Santa” sweater isn’t a first for Walmart which, in the past, has had to pull hair nets, manufactured and sold on its website by a third party, for a racial slur in the product’s description. Just last week, Amazon was forced to apologize after consumers discovered a third party was selling an Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornament on its site.