“Hair products locked up, an extra layer of security,” begins a new national commercial spot. “But only for some shoppers, black shoppers. That’s what three Virginia Walmart stores did.”
The ad, which is helmed by Making Change at Walmart, a campaign funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, expands on claims the union made two weeks ago. Both then and now, the union says three Walmarts, including two in Hampton Roads, Virginia, barricade hair-care products marketed toward African-Americans in plastic security packaging, while leaving similar products disproportionately solicited to white customers undisturbed and within easy reach.
Video segments in the commercial seem to support this claim; however, The Virginian-Pilot asserts only one of the cited stores actually uses the protective measures mentioned in the ad. When contacted by the paper, a Walmart rep wrote the protective packaging was part of a “normal” practice to minimize theft of at-risk items.
The incident arrives on the heels of another Walmart controversy, where Black Lives Matter T-shirts were pulled from the store’s virtual shelves. Currently, the megastore sees no wrongdoing in the security measures, designating the discriminatory claims as “false and offensive.”