American retailer Walmart has reportedly instructed staff to remove violent video game signage and playable demos following two recent mass shootings at its stores in the US.
As reported by Vice, photographs of the notification shared on Twitter and Reddit show Walmart sent employees a notice titled “Immediate Action: Remove Signing and Displays Referencing Violence”, asking them to “review your store for any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavio[u]r”.
Apparently Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as movies and hunting videos. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf
— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019
The notice specifically asks staff to remove demos of “violent games, specifically PlayStation or Xbox units,” cancel events for “combat style or third-person shooter games”, and ensure tech departments do not show movies depicting violence or even “hunting season” in the sporting goods section.
According to the notice, representatives from Anderson Merchandisers will send out representatives to update display consoles and demo units “within the next week”, but it’s unclear what this entails.
The notice makes no mention of similar demands to conceal firearms or ammunition in its stores.
“I went into work yesterday and they handed me a copy of the instructions to remove the violent signage and gaming displays,” a Walmart employee told Vice after asking to remain anonymous. “And I immediately threw it away because it’s obviously a way to shift the blame from the real problem regarding the mass shootings. I didn’t get to confirm this yesterday but they aren’t doing anything about the sales of guns and ammo in the store.”
Spokespeople for Walmart have yet to respond to comments, but it’s widely thought the changes come after President Trump publicly blamed mental health issues and “gruesome and grisly video games” for America’s mass shootings rather than a lack of meaningful gun control.