Recent reports of Walmart removing violent video game imagery and halting sales of violent video games have been confusing, to say the least. Company representatives have provided conflicting statements at times and have denied halting sales of video games but the leaked memo in which it told its employees to remove violent signs, displays, and videos, is certainly real.
Following the leak of the memo, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California took to Twitter to slam Walmart for singling out and targeting video games.
“Dear Walmart, remember how: Mario Kart caused people to drive faster? Pac-Man caused folks to eat more? Fortnite radicalized a white supremacist to shoot Hispanics at your store?” he wrote. “You disrespect the victims of mass shootings by making up stupid shit. Stop blaming video games.”
Dan Bartlett, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Walmart, separately took to Twitter to claim that violent imagery was removed out of respect.
“Don’t be confused by us asking our teams to be sensitive about violent images on the sales floor right after innocent people were murdered at our store,” he tweeted. “We’re not suggesting this is the answer to gun violence.”
“Walmart doesn’t sell handguns (except in Alaska) or military-style rifles,” Bartlett wrote in a separate tweet addressing those who called the company out for selling firearms. “We’ve also increased purchase age and don’t make any sale without government-approved background check. We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our response to El Paso.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers critical of video games have been bumping heads with gaming industry professionals over the issue, with the latter accusing politicians of misdirecting their concerns.
What do our readers think of Bartlett’s response? Share your thoughts with us below (respectfully, please).