Following reports of Walmart asking its stores to remove signage for any video games considered to be of a violent nature, and further reporting claiming that it will discontinue sales for most titles, the company has come out with a rebuttal, insisting that the reports are false.
Walmart has seen some backlash over the reported decisions that come in the wake of recent mass shootings, one of which saw 22 people killed at one of their stores in El Paso. Folks found the company to be quite hypocritical, given that guns and ammunition remain on its shelves and are still readily available.
However, during a talk with Kotaku, a representative denied the claims. “It is not true,” the rep told the publication over the phone on Friday afternoon.
Vice first reported that memos were sent to all Walmart stores urging the removal of “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior." And, with gamer and voice actor Erik Louden having tweeted a photo showing well-nigh empty game shelves, IGN went on to report that the stores were also removing violent games, also quoting Walmart.
“Mine is not even selling the games anymore (temporarily) and I’m seriously upset," the tweet said. "Like where am I supposed to buy a physical copy now? The nearest GameStop is way too far away from me.”
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment," Walmart's statement reads. "We are focused on assisting our associates and their families, as well as supporting the community, as we continue a thoughtful and thorough review of our policies.”
The statement was also sent to Kotaku, but shortly after, the reports were met with another blunt denial from another Walmart rep.
“We have not given direction to date to remove titles,” said rep declared. IGN has updated its report with a correction as a result.
It could be that store managers and staff are responding personally to the instructions from the top, which explains why actions may vary. In any case, the store continues to sell firearms and it doesn't appear like those will be going off the shelves anytime soon.