Walmart pulls cringey Juneteenth-themed ice cream after critics slam it on social media

'We received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize,' the company said in a statement.

click to enlarge Many are criticizing Walmart's Juneteenth ice cream as a form of cultural appropriation. - Twitter / @borgposting
Twitter / @borgposting
Many are criticizing Walmart's Juneteenth ice cream as a form of cultural appropriation.
If there was a Marketing Fail Hall of Fame, Arkansas-based Walmart’s Juneteenth-themed ice cream would be the latest addition.

The retailer unveiled the ice cream last week to commemorate June 19, the holiday recognizing the official end of slavery in the United States. However, many took the product launch as insensitive and a form of cultural appropriation.
The container — which has since been pulled from the shelves — boasted green, yellow and red accents. “Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope,” read a statement on the packaging.

Diversity- and inclusion-focused trade organization Bridge on May 23 published an open letter to Walmart on its website, asking the company to stop selling the ice cream.

“[Juneteenth] is a day of commemoration. A serious day. It is neither fun nor frivolous but rather a memory of a very dark and devastating period in American history,” the organization wrote. “Would you launch an ice cream called January 27? The day the world remembers the Holocaust. Or April 7, the day that memorializes the genocide in Rwanda. Of course not.”

The letter, penned by Bridge CEO Sheryl Daija, went on to address the “indisputable importance of not capitalizing on the culture or history of any under-represented community, in this case, the history of Black Americans.” Daija further explained that capitalism should not be achieved through the appropriation of — or at the expense of — a culture.

An apology from Walmart followed after plenty of other online statements expressed similar concerns.

“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” the Walmart said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. “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.”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. That announcement finally put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued two and a half years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a bill creating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

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Nina Rangel

Nina Rangel uses nearly 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry to tell the stories of movers and shakers in the food scene in San Antonio. As the Food + Nightlife Editor for the San Antonio Current, she showcases her passion for the Alamo City’s culinary community by promoting local flavors, uncovering...

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