Re: Movie Cross-Selling Issue on Walmart.com
The following comments can be attributed to Mona Williams, Vice President Corporate Communications
We again want to apologize for the recent inappropriate promotion of a series of African American films on our website. Since becoming aware of the situation, we have worked around the clock to find out exactly what happened and try and ensure it doesn’t happen again. As a result of our review, we have found that the offensive combinations were completely unintentional.
In Jan. 2005, in preparation for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, we began a promotion of African American films. In that spirit, we linked certain movie titles to an “item group” of film boxed sets, so they would be prominent to our Internet customers. Four African-American films --”What’s Love Got to Do With it,” “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” “Martin Luther King: I have a Dream,” and “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” -- were linked to a group of boxed sets that contained 263 other films. Some of the linked films are:
Ace Ventura Pet Detective/Ace Ventura When Nature Calls
The Adam Sandler Collection Home Alone: DVD Triple Pack
The Martial Arts Collection
Powerpuff Girls Powerpack
Rocky 25th Anniversary Giftset (Anniversary Edition)
Sports Night DVD Collection
The West Wing: The Complete First Season
The Woody Allen Collection
Unfortunately, as a result, some of the inadvertent combinations were very offensive. Once we were notified of the issue at 11 a.m. PT Thursday, Walmart.com took immediate action, taking down the offensive combinations as well as shutting down the entire movie cross-selling system. Steps are currently being taken to examine and scrub the entire catalog in order to dramatically reduce the reoccurrence of any inappropriate or offensive combinations.
This happened during a sincere effort to further promote African American films as we have also done through our “Black Voices” series on TBS. Once again, we apologize for this unfortunate and regrettable incident.