The boots were discovered by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a US-based Muslim civil rights group, on Sunday. CAIR has said they were notified about the boots through an email-based tip.
The pair of boots were available on Walmart’s website for $50 (£41) in black and tans colours, with the letters ‘KKK’ emblazoned in red lettering on the shoe tongue.
A spokesman for Walmart said the boots were “listed by an outside third-party seller and removed because the item is inconsistent with [the company’s] values and violates Walmart’s prohibited product policy”.
They said: “We have a process in place designed to prevent third-party sellers from offering inappropriate items on our platform.
“Still, at times, inappropriate items make their way onto our platform. We are reviewing how this happened and will apply what we learn to further improve our rules and processes to prevent the sale of inappropriate merchandise.”
It is currently unknown why the boots had the initials ‘KKK’ and CAIR have said they do not know how long the boots were on sale on Walmart’s website.
The initials KKK is often associated with the Ku Klux Klan, a racist white supremacist group which has been described as the “oldest and most infamous of American hate groups”.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, a civil rights non-profit organisation, said on its website that although African-Americans were their primary target, the group has attacked Jewish and LGBT people, as well as immigrants.
The group are known historically for opposing the rights of African-Americans during the civil rights movement in the 1960s but the US Government still considers the group a “subversive terrorist organisation”.
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This incident is not the first time Walmart has apologised and removed products from their stock.
In 2020, the store removed “All Lives Matter” shirts after the death of Geoge Floyd, when it was discovered that third-party brand Old Glory was selling a number of $20 t-shirts on the Walmart website.
A Twitter user notified Walmart of the clothing and said: “Are you kidding me @walmartcanada??? Disgusting. Do better.”
Following the incident, Walmart released a statement which said: “We fundamentally do believe that all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect.
“However, as we listened, we came to understand that the way some, but not all, people are using the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ in the current environment intentionally minimised the focus on the painful reality of racial inequality.”