Walmart has issued a statement about the takedown of signage and promotions inside stores that advertised violent video games. Reports that the company would be taking these types of actions first surfaced recently in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. A company spokesperson who has since issued a statement about the situation said that the measures were being taken "out of respect for the incidents of the past week" but that the change doesn't indicate any long-term changes within Walmart.
Reports of Walmart's directive to remove signage and displays for violent video games began circulating recently when images like the one below were shared on Twitter and other forms of social media. These images showed what appeared to be internal documents which instructed employees to remove ads that referenced various forms of violence including those for video games.
In a statement shared with The Washington Post about the situation, spokesperson Tara House from Walmart provided the following.
"We've taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment."
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
Video games weren't the only product targeted by the changes. The memo sent to stores asked employees to do the following:
- Turn off or unplug any video game consoles that show a demo of violent games, specifically PlayStation and Xbox units;
- 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 in Electronics;
- Turn off any hunting season videos that may be playing in Sporting Goods, and remove any monitors or displays that show the videos;
- Check all signing throughout the store and remove any referencing combat or third-person shooter video games.
Other companies such as ABC and its ESPN network have also responded to the mass shootings from last week by pulling a broadcast of an Apex Legends tournament from its channels. The broadcast will instead be shared in a few months.