Curated content can be great—but it can also wreak havoc on your organization’s reputation.
Such is the lesson Walmart is learning after a after third-party vendor posted an item for sale on the retailer’s marketplace, and used a racial slur in the product’s listing.
The product in question was a wig cap whose description noted the color as “n—– brown.”
This tweet captures much of the outrage on social media that followed:
This is WALMART’S RACIST DESCRIPTION OF THE “JAGAZI’S NATURAL FULL CAP WEAVING NET WIG CAP‼️THEY WILL NEVER GET MY MONEY AGAIN‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/Mx24prrSww
— CastTheNet (@AmyOliviaWilli2) July 17, 2017
The ad — complete with the familiar Walmart colors and typography — raced around the Web, a racial flub that was a setback for a company that’s aggressively trying to expand online sales.
Walmart and Jagazi Naturals both apologized and shifted the blame onto an unknown third-party seller.
Walmart took down the listing shortly after screenshots of the product made the rounds online and apologized to customers, calling the incident a “clear violation of our policy.”
In its statement, Walmart said it was “appalled that this third-party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace.” The company promised to investigate further “to determine how this could have happened.”
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The company’s social media team has been responding to outraged Twitter users with tweets such as the following:
We agree this is appalling. pic.twitter.com/piW3uqFnJB
— Walmart (@Walmart) July 17, 2017
The wig cap’s maker, Jagazi, also distanced itself from the incident.
The company issued the following statement on its website:
We woke up this morning to the news that someone has used our name JAGAZI to list an item. Please beware that we are reporting this to as many people as we can and trying to get all the listings pulled down. The real JAGAZI is a 100% black company for both black people and anyone that wants to use our products. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. Most shocking!