Walmart Pulls All Confederate Battle Flag Merchandise From Its Stores

UPDATE: Amazon, eBay and Etsy have followed the lead of Walmart and Sears and have removed the rebel flags from their sites as well.

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Walmart has decided it will stop selling all Confederate battle flag merchandise in its stores and online, in the aftermath of the racially-motivated shooting last week at a Charleston church that left nine people dead.

The public outcry against the rebel banner has prompted Walmart to announce that it will no longer feature any merchandise with that symbol on it.

“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site,” said Walmart spokesman Brian Nick (via CNN). “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances.”

Previously, Walmart sold items like a four-foot by six-foot version, a woman’s belt buckle and various decals, among other items. Those products appear to be gone from the site at this point.

Sears also announced that it would be removing all merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag from its site. Though it didn’t sell any items in its stores with the image directly, it had third-party vendors that did so online.

The Confederate battle flag is not to be confused with the official flag of the Confederacy (of which there were three official iterations). Sometimes called the rebel banner, the flag was the battle emblem for Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, notes PBS. It was rejected for use as the official flag of the rebels, but it was included in two later official flags as a smaller rectangle in a larger design.

Walmart, Sears to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise [CNN]