Walmart has told its stores to take down any “signing and displays referencing violence”, including advertising for violent video games.
It comes just a week after 22 people were shot dead at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and another 10 people were killed in the Dayton, Ohio mass shooting the following day.
A week before the El Paso Walmart shooting, two people died at a Walmart in northern Mississippi: co-workers of a disgruntled Walmart employee who also shot a police officer.
Apparently Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as movies and hunting videos. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf
— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019
The letter to store staff asks for “immediate action” to review any in-store materials which contain “violent images or aggressive behaviour”. Top of the list for things to remove? Video game advertising.
“Turn off or unplug any video game display consoles that show a demo of violent games, specifically PlayStation and Xbox units,” the note reads, adding that these units will be updated manually within the next week.
“Cancel any events promoting combat style or third-person shooter games that may be scheduled in Electronics.
“Verify that no movies depicting violence are playing Electronics.”
And then, on to adverts for non-virtual guns:
“Turn off any hunting season videos that may be playing in Sporting Goods, and remove any monitors or displays that show the videos.”
Of course, Walmart sells guns. And while signs for Borderlands 3 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may have been taken down, it’ll still keep selling actual weapons.
“There’s been no change in policy,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told USA Today this week. “It’s horrible… what’s happened.”
But then Walmart is simply following the comments of US president Trump, who on Monday used a speech to the nation to blame “the glorification of violence in our society” and single out violent video games in particular.
“This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace,” Trump concluded. “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately.”