CINCINNATI – Walmart is pulling a store brand ice cream introduced to celebrate Juneteenth after critics decried the move as insensitive.
Walmart’s blurb on the ice cream container, which had also appeared to trademark Juneteenth, said, “share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope.”
Some people on social media noted the ice cream – a swirled red velvet cheesecake flavor – is similar to a flavor from a Black-owned and Cincinnati-based ice cream company Creamalicious, which sells its Right as Rain Red Velvet Cheesecake flavor in Walmart stores.
USA TODAY reached out to Walmart for comment.
Walmart was criticized on social media for its insensitivity toward the holiday. Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, 1865, the emancipation of all those who had been enslaved in the United States. It was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.
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Red food, red velvet cake and drink, like strawberry soda, is traditional when celebrating Juneteenth. Red, white and blue are on the Juneteenth flag, and the color red symbolizes that “from the middle passage to George Floyd, our blood has been spilled across America,” Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, previously told USA TODAY.
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Creamalicious was started by Cincinnati business owner Liz Rogers and is sold in major retailers around the country, including Walmart, Target, Meijer and other stores.
In a statement to Fox, Walmart apologized for the ice cream and said it will remove the product from stores.
“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” Walmart said in a statement to Fox. “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.”