Primark have pulled an official Walking Dead t-shirt from their stores after a customer complained that it referenced a racial slur. The shirt features a quote from Walking Dead villain Negan, as well as an image of his razor wire-wrapped baseball bat— a combination that apparently sends a disturbing message to minority groups.
#TheWalkingDead's own Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Michael Cudlitz have responded to the controversy on Twitter, and they're not very happy about it.
It All Started In Sheffield
The complaint was made by Sheffield man, Ian Lucraft, after a confronting experience whilst looking for a present for his grandson in Primark. Lucraft told The Star that he and his wife were "shocked" to see what he believes to be "a racially explicit graphic and text" on an official Walking Dead shirt.
According to Lucraft, the shirt's message is not only a quote from Negan on The Walking Dead, but a rhyme that originally included a racial slur. This was not the version recited on The Walking Dead; however, Lucraft was still upset by the association:
"The graphic has a large American baseball bat, wrapped round with barbed wire, and covered with blood. This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America. It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood."
Whilst Primark did issue an official statement explaining the t-shirt's design was taken "directly from the show", they also apologized and pulled the merchandise from their stores.
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Negan Isn't Impressed— And Neither Is Abraham
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays The Walking Dead's smiling assassin Negan, the man behind the infamous quote— and he made his thoughts on the matter pretty clear:
He wasn't the only one who thought the whole controversy was a little ridiculous. Even Michael Cudlitz, who played Lucille's victim Abraham, accused Lucraft of attempting to get his 15 minutes of fame:
Walking Dead fans have rallied together against Primark's decision, starting an online petition to bring back the t-shirt:
"Also, the man complaining is WHITE. He is taking a mild mannered shirt and taking it way out of context and is dictating what is and isn't racist on behalf of a group of people, of which he has no right to speak on behalf of."
It's unclear whether or not Primark will return the merchandise to their stores. Meanwhile, some fans who managed to purchase the shirt before it was removed are now wearing them with pride and posting photos on social media— though perhaps "pride" isn't the best word to use when showing off a t-shirt that was banned for its racist connotations.
Do you think Primark should bring back the "offensive" Negan t-shirt?
(Source: The Star)