Tag Archives: walmart

No, Walmart Isn’t Telling Its Stores To Remove Violent Video Games

A Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images (Getty Images)

One day after Walmart asked employees to remove signage for “violent” video games, a news report said that Walmart is going one step further and ceasing sales for most video games. According to a Walmart representative speaking with Kotaku, that is not the case.

“It is not true,” said a Walmart rep over the phone this afternoon, while clarifying what moves Walmart has taken in the wake of mass shootings this past weekend, one of which resulted in the deaths of 22 people at an El Paso Walmart store.

Memos sent to employees over the last few days instructed them to remove “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior,” Vice first reported.

But after a photo Tweeted by a gamer and voice actor named Erik Louden showed near-empty games shelves at Walmart, speculation arose that the retailer was also removing violent games from sale. The website IGN reported as much, citing a statement from Walmart:

“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment. We are focused on assisting our associates and their families, as well as supporting the community, as we continue a thoughtful and thorough review of our policies.”

That statement was also sent to Kotaku when we sought confirmation for IGN’s report. It had also been provided to reporters asking about Walmarts’ memo regarding games signage and appears to actually only have been intended to address that.

Shortly after we received that statement, however, another Walmart rep told Kotaku: “We have not given direction to date to remove titles.” IGN has since updated its story with a correction.

Shootings at Walmart stores in Texas and Mississippi over the last two weeks have led to the deaths of two dozen people. President Trump afterward would partially blame the wave of mass shootings, including one this past weekend at a bar in Dayton, Ohio, on “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”

Louden’s tweet today included a photo that showed display cases largely empty of any games. The remaining games included several E-rated Nintendo Switch titles. Louden wrote, “Mine is not even selling the games anymore (temporarily) and I’m seriously upset. Like where am I supposed to buy a physical copy now? The nearest GameStop is way too far away from me.” It is possible that Walmart employees and managers across the country are responding in personal and specific ways to Walmart’s directive to “use your best judgment when determining whether an element is appropriate.”

Walmart continues to sell guns.

Source: Kotaku.com

Walmart Asks Employees To Remove Violent Video Game Signage

Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty)

For the past couple of days, Walmart employees have been receiving memos instructing them to remove “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior.” Principal among the suggested items are demos and signs promoting violent video games.

Vice first reported on the memo’s circulation earlier today. It tells employees to “remove,” “turn off,” or “cancel” a range of promotions, specifically “consoles that show a demo of violent video games,” signs “referencing combat or third-person shooter video games,” any events promoting those kinds of games, violent movies that might be playing in the electronics section, and hunting season videos in the sporting goods section. The memo specifically says to remove these items “immediately.”

Kotaku reached out to Walmart for more information, but the company has yet to respond. In the meantime, it’s unclear how widespread these memos are, but a number of people claiming to be employees have said they’ve received them on Reddit. Journalist Kenneth Shepard also posted a copy to Twitter.

This comes on the heels of two recent shootings that took place in Walmarts, one on July 30 in which a gunman killed two co-workers and wounded an officer in Southaven, Mississippi, and another on August 3 in which a gunman killed 22 people and wounded 24 in El Paso, Texas. In the wake of this, some politicians blamed video games. This included President Trump, who partially chalked the shootings—which also included an August 4 mass shooting outside a popular bar in Dayton, Ohio—up to “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.” This stance ignores scholarship and statistics to the contrary while also failing to consider the pernicious ways in which video games and guns are related. The timing of Walmart’s memo, then, has raised some eyebrows.

“Does this mean gun displays in sporting goods are also going away or is this just nonsense,” asked one redditor in one response to an image of the memo.

“No,” another replied sarcastically, “because guns don’t kill people. God of War, Call of Duty, and Borderlands kills people.”

Others, however, have offered more tempered takes on Walmart’s supposed decision-making.

“They’re not taking that stuff down for those reasons,” said another poster in the same thread. “They’re just trying not to be insensitive after multiple mass shootings. Completely reasonable, albeit I don’t think it’s necessary. If some people are on edge when a balloon pops at your store, I’m sure some people would complain about such depictions of violence.”

But again, Walmart is still selling actual guns that can be used to inflict real-life violence, which seems like a more pressing matter no matter how you slice it. Increasingly, people are dissatisfied with Walmart’s decision to continue selling guns, most of which have been hunting rifles and shotguns since 2015. This includes some employees, two of whom, according to the Wall Street Journal, sent out a message on Monday to all e-commerce staff and the companywide Slack channel calling for a general strike in protest of Walmart making money off gun sales. Two others at the company’s corporate office in California called for a walkout, only to have their access to internal systems suspended over concerns that “there are more constructive ways for associates to offer feedback such as emails or conversations with leaders.”

In a Facebook post in the wake of the weekend’s mass shootings, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the company is a “learning organization” that will “work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence.” However, a Walmart spokesperson told WSJ that there are “no plans at this time” to change policies around gun sales.

Source: Kotaku.com