Photo (cc) by jasoneppink
Major American retailers are rebelling against the sale of Confederate flags and merchandise displaying the “stars and bars.”
Wal-Mart on Monday led the way after widespread protests followed the massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17. The suspect, Dylann Roof, 21, appears with the Confederate flag in pictures discovered after the attack.
“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer,” Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick said. “We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our website.”
Also Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called on legislators to remove the flag from the statehouse grounds.
“This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Haley said.
Afterward, sales of Confederate flags spiked on Amazon, claiming first, second and third place on the online retailer’s list of biggest sales gainers in the previous 24 hours. Prices ranged from less than $2 to nearly $16 per flag. On Tuesday, Amazon removed more than 29,000 listings for Confederate flags, posters, knives and other memorabilia, CNN said.
Other retailers pulling Confederate flag items include:
In a statement echoing other retailers, Etsy said:
“Today, we are removing Confederate flag items from our marketplace. Etsy’s policies prohibit items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred, and these items fall squarely into that category.”
Johnna Hoff, an eBay spokesperson, said that the Confederate flag has “become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.”
Manufacturer Valley Forge Flag said it would stop making Confederate battle flags entirely, CNBC reported. The 133-year-old Pennsylvania-based company that sells millions of flags each year, including those used on the beaches of Normandy in World War II, said it hoped the move would help “foster racial unity and tolerance in our country.”
A Public Policy Polling survey taken after the church shootings showed Americans opposed flying the Confederate flag over government buildings by a 3-to-1 margin.
What’s your opinion of retailers’ response to the controversy around the flag? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.