Walmart yanked pints of Juneteenth-themed after being accused of profiteering off the national holiday that celebrates the end of slavery.
The company’s Great Value ice cream label released swirled red velvet and cheesecake flavored ice cream, with a label that read: “Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope.”
Juneteenth commemorates the day the day that Union soldiers told Texans that slaves were free on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the Emanicpation Proclimation. It was officially recognized as a national holiday in 2021.
“Can you imagine a company creating an ice cream flavor commemorating the end of the Holocaust? Companies should really think through how they recognize #Juneteenth,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is why it’s important to hire diverse perspectives.”
“I would prefer a black owned company profit off Juneteenth ice cream than Walmart of all companies,” said another. “An internal survey by Walmart found many high-ranking Black employees wouldn’t recommend working there.”
The company was even accused of stealing the flavor from a black-owned company. “Here is the Black-owned ice cream company that has made red velvet ice cream for Juneteenth. Apparently it’s sold at Walmart and many other outlets. So skip that fake Walmart brand and support Black-owned business,” one person sleuthed
Here is the Black-owned ice cream company that has made red velvet ice cream for Juneteenth. Apparently it’s sold at Walmart and many other outlets. So skip that fake Walmart brand and support Black-owned business. Looks delicious! pic.twitter.com/sEXGpg22dG
— Little Miss Citizen Votes Blue 🗳 (@MsCitizen2U) May 23, 2022
Walmart kowtowed to critics and issued an apology on Wednesday. “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,” the company said in a statement.
Walmart executives clearly weren’t thrilled by the bad optics surrounding the product’s launch, and removed the poorly branded ice cream from their freezers the same day.