(NEXSTAR) – Walmart is “reviewing” its decision to release Juneteenth-themed ice cream following backlash from customers and social-media users, the company says.
Walmart’s “Celebration Edition Juneteenth™ Ice Cream” started attracting attention on Twitter over the weekend, with users calling out Walmart for allegedly trying to capitalize on the holiday.
The ice cream, which was sold under the company’s Great Value brand, featured packaging that encouraged consumers to “share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope,” according to photos shared on social media. The label also featured a pair of hands high-fiving while another holds up a peace sign.
“Corporate America will co-opt Juneteenth now that it’s a federal holiday like everything else,” wrote one Twitter user. “We don’t have reparations, laws protecting our voting rights, or stopping Police from killing us, but we have ice cream.”
“NOBODY asked for this,” wrote another. “Diversity ain’t making ice cream and slapping a Juneteenth label on it.”
Some users noted that the flavor of Walmart’s Juneteenth Ice Cream — “swirled red velvet and cheesecake” — was also similar to a variety sold by Creamalicious, a Black-owned ice cream brand available at Target.
In a statement shared with Nexstar, Walmart suggested that stores may be in the process of removing the ice cream from sale.
“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” the company said. “However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”
It’s unclear which other items Walmart was reviewing, specifically, though users on social media have claimed that Walmart locations were selling other Juneteenth-themed merchandise, including T-shirts.
A representative for the company did not provide further information.
Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19, commemorates the 1865 date that Union soldiers arrived to announce enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation — which was issued more than two years before — and bring freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas.
Juneteenth was officially made a federal holiday in the United States in 2021.