Walmart Employees Instructed to Remove Violent Video Game Signage Following Mass Shootings
This news comes the day after Universal pulled ads in its marketing campaign for upcoming violent thriller film 'The Hunt,' as well as ESPN and ABC pulling the broadcast of the X Games 'Apex Legends' EXP that was scheduled for this weekend.
Following the most recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, California, and reignited debate about national gun control, Walmart has begun the process of removing violent video game advertisements from two of its retail stores, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Vice Games was the first to report that signage and playable demos for violent games, as well as hunting videos, are being removed from Walmart stores. Employees were sent a document titled "Immediate Action: Removing Signing and Displays Referencing Violence. Review your store for any signing or displays containing violent images or graphic behavior."
The instruction was referencing displays and demos of third-person shooter titles and combat-style games for PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It is unclear if additional Walmart stores will be affected.
"We've taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment," said Tara House, of Walmart's corporate communications department, in an email to THR.
The conversation surrounding violence in video games and the possible negative effects on young people has been ongoing, at some level, since the days of Atari and Commodore. This week, President Donald Trump condemned "gruesome and violent video games" for contributing to the "glorification of violence in our society" during a press conference.
Since his remarks, video game groups such as the Entertainment Software Association have pointed to the fact that many countries where video games are just as if not more popular that they are in the U.S. have much lower levels of gun violence.
News of Walmart's removal comes the day after Universal pulled ads in its marketing campaign for upcoming thriller The Hunt amid the heightened conversation about gun violence. For similar reasons, ESPN and ABC have pulled the broadcast of the X Games Apex Legends e-sports tournament that was scheduled for this weekend.
Despite the urgent conversation about the necessity of gun control, Walmart continues to sell guns in its retail locations.