Juneteenth ice cream sold at Walmart pulled from stores after social media backlash

·3 min read
Screengrab from Roy Wood Jr.'s Facebook page

Walmart has recalled its ice cream commemorating Juneteenth after receiving backlash online, according to multiple reports.

Photos of the red velvet-cheesecake swirl ice cream recently surfaced on social media, drawing swift criticism from some who blasted the dessert as “tone deaf,” “racially insensitive” and another example of “corporate pandering” by brands ahead of the holiday.

“Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope,” the product label reads, according to photos posted online. The carton features Pan-African colors and symbols alongside Black and brown hands — one of which is wrapped with the Juneteenth Flag.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, and informed 250,000 enslaved Black Americans that they were declared free, according to the Smithsonian. The news came nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved Black people in Confederate states.

President Joe Biden signed a bill commemorating the occasion in 2021, making Juneteenth a national holiday.

Walmart quickly pulled the product from store shelves after it was accused of commercializing the holiday to sell ice cream.

“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” the company told FOX Television Stations in a statement. “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.”

McClatchy News reached out to Walmart for comment on May 24 and was awaiting a response.

Other critics felt the retail giant missed an opportunity to promote Black-owned ice cream brand Creamalicious, which sells a similar red velvet flavored dessert in Walmart and other stores, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“Walmart literally saw a successful small Black business and thought they could get away with stealing their flavor and re-branding it for Juneteenth,” one Twitter user wrote.

Bath & Body Works faced similar criticism last year after launching a limited-edition line of products to celebrate Black History Month, McClatchy News reported.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting