— Anthony (@OMGItsBirdman) August 9, 2017
The sign, reading "Own The School Year Like A Hero," is part of the company’s back-to-school campaign, which features crime-fighting superheroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
As the news spread like wildfire across social media, Walmart apologized for the signage. Charles Crowson, a spokesperson for the chain, informed The Washington Post that the company was diligently working to identify the particular store with the display, dubbed "patient zero." He rejected suggestions that the guilty store was its Evansville, Indiana, location.
"What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores," Crowson said. "We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened."
However, when The Post reached out to Leeanna May, who was the first reported netizen to share the image, she disputed Crowson’s assertion. According to the shopper, she was doing an early morning run with her husband when they both spotted the display as they walked by the sporting goods section.
"We have already lost so many innocent lives to guns," May said, noting she immediately alerted an employee after being unable to locate a manager. "People don’t seem to honestly care."
— ZijZ (@ItsZijZ) August 9, 2017
As it turns out, the mega store later confirmed that May was correct, and that the Evansville store manager had taken down the "disgusting" display.
— Walmart (@Walmart) August 9, 2017
No stranger to controversy, this isn’t the first time Walmart has been forced to deal with backlash. Just last month, one of the superstore’s third party sellers was found to be marketing a product with a racial slur.