On Wednesday, a photo circulated on Twitter depicting a Walmart gun display case topped with a prominent sign that reads, “Own the school year like a hero.” Now, Walmart has apologized, and a representative says the company is taking steps to ensure that this... does not happen again.
The Washington Post reports that Charles Crowson, a spokesman for Walmart, said the company is attempting to identify the store in the image, though he confirms it looks like an actual display common at the franchise:
“What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores,” he said in a statement. “We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.” He declined to comment on the connection critics were making between guns and mass shootings on school campuses.
There are also several tweets that seem to indicate the location was identified and the sign removed:
But as the Post reports, there’s another tweet from the verified Walmart account that predates Crowson’s statements. It’s directed at a woman named Leanna May, who took the original image:
May, who has made her Twitter account private since her photograph went viral, claimed to the Post that when she saw the sign, she attempted to locate a store manager, but was unable to find one.
Whomever placed the sign above the gun display, it was not created with the intention to sell firearms. “Own the school year like a hero” is part of the chain store’s superhero-themed ad campaign, which encourages kids to face the new year with the powerful weapon of branded school supplies: