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.
Would you like some Juneteenth Ice cream on a Juneteenth plate as you sip your beer in a Juneteenth Koozie? pic.twitter.com/VCDpfOgYro
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) May 23, 2022
Good morning to everyone except for whoever green-lit the Juneteenth ice cream for Walmart.
— Kim (@Kimmy_KimKimM) May 24, 2022
Lmao why would Walmart release a Juneteenth ice cream ? These people play in our face so bad ♀️
— Creole Mami (@Partially_Cajun) May 24, 2022
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.
In all seriousness......
If you have seen the Juneteenth Ice Cream from Walmart, go ahead and grab some Creamalicious Red Velvet Cheesecake instead! Walmart could have used this opportunity to highlight this brand instead of making a cheap copycat for OUR Independence Day pic.twitter.com/rFqJmEDQh8
— (Cʟᴀssɪᴇ) Fʀɪᴇɴᴅs ᴄᴀʟʟ ᴍᴇ Cʟᴀss (@theboywitthebob) May 24, 2022
Sooo @Walmart thinks it is a proper way to celebrate Juneteenth by literally ripping off a flavor of ice cream from a black owned brand and slapping great value on it??? Make it make sense
— Alisseyah (@Lissey_Baby) May 23, 2022
Why @Walmart thought it was a better idea to create their own Juneteenth icecream when Chef Liz Rogers has with the same flavor combo ice cream, in their stores, is exactly how yt corporations show you they ain't got it. Why not just highlight and promote her? #juneteenthicecream
— Mayor of Chuckalissa. EntrepreNOIRE. (@Scrappmusiq) May 24, 2022
“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.