A Walking Dead T-shirt has been yanked off the shelves of a U.K. department store after being deemed to be “racist” and “fantastically offensive” due to its use of a long-in-the-tooth nursery rhyme.
According to a BBC News report, U.K. retailer Primark made the decision to pull the shirts after a shopper complained about the “fantastically offensive” slogan on the shirt, which reads: “Eeeny Meeny Miny Moe” alongside an image of Lucille, the bloody baseball bat that season seven’s Big Bad, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), used to crush the skulls of two beloved characters in the season premiere (Negan used the nursery rhyme when deciding which of his potential victims to kill).
While many people will shake their heads and wonder what (other than the blood-soaked bat) could be considered offensive, it has to do with the line that follows. Children these days are taught that it goes “Catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go.”
However, before the word “tiger” became a substitution, an earlier (and far less politically correct) version of the nursery rhyme used the N-word, which is from where the current controversy stems.
“The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the US television series, ‘The Walking Dead’, and the quote and image are taken directly from the show,” Primark said in a statement.
“Any offence caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this. Primark has removed the product from sale,” adds the statement.
Ian Lucraft, the customer whose complaint led to the shirt being taken off shelves, explained why he was offended in an interview with The Sheffield Star.
“We were shocked when we came face to face with a new T-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text,” said Lucraft (who, for the record, is white). “It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in the process of ordering it knew what they were doing, or were aware of its subliminal messages.”
He added: “The graphic has a large American baseball bat, wrapped round with barbed wire, and covered with blood. This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America. It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood.”
If you think that might be a bit of a stretch, you’re not alone. In fact, Primark is now facing a social media backlash over the “idiocy” of ditching the shirt, with numerous people mocking the retailer’s decision.
© 2017 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.