Walmart is apologizing for a racist product description that appeared on its website on July 17.
In what was evidently intended to be a joke, an impostor posing for a real company called Jagazi UK, Ltd. listed a product on the Walmart website with the N-word in its name, reports the New York Post.
The product is a wig cap, used as a protective layer between a person’s hair and sewn-in hair extensions. The description identified one of the available colors as “N****r Brown.”
The racist slur quickly attracted attention on social media. The New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay called it “so far past unacceptable.” In response, Jagazi issued a 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 black people. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their fake products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. Most shocking!
Jagazi owner Chizo Onuh elaborated in a statement quoted by KCPQ: “We’re very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. It just doesn’t make any sense. No one will buy the product when you put that offensive name on it.”
In a statement to the New York Post, Walmart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt wrote: “We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace. It is a clear violation of our policy, and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
Robert Littal of Black Sports Online did not accept the apology, accusing Walmart of a cover up.
“Instead of just admitting they really messed up, Walmart has immediately tried to cover up this horrific racist description of their hair cap product,” he wrote. “Before they tried to cover things up, I verified that the description was legit. Even after they tried to cover it up by just putting ‘Brown’ and erasing the description they left live the URL that had ‘N***** Brown’ in it. I happened to screen capture that before they had a chance to change it. Not sure the protocols Walmart uses before they put something live online, but someone obviously knew what they were doing when they did this.”