Walmart Re-editing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Commercial After Complaints About Similarity to Eric Garner Death
Walmart said yesterday that it will be changing and re-releasing one of its recent commercials after complaints that the ad was too reminiscent of the devastating video where unarmed Black man, Eric Garner, was strangled to death by a policeman in New York.
In the commercial a Black father is sitting on the couch next to his daughter. He then gives the young girl a new phone with unlimited Internet from Walmart Family Mobile. In response, his daughter wraps her arm around the back of his neck and pulls him down with joy as he struggles and says, “I can’t breathe.”
“It struck a nerve in myself,” Shana Sanders, a marketing professional from Atlanta, Georgia told NBC News. “It immediately made me think of the Eric Garner case where he was choked by the arms of a New York police officer.” After seeing the commercial during the morning news, she immediately told her friends about her discomfort.
“It is very, very, sensitive right now and I think Walmart needs to pull that ad,” she added.
The video of Eric Garner, which went viral in July, resurfaced Wednesday night after a Staten Island grand jury announced that it would not indict the officer responsible for Garner’s death, Daniel Pantaleo.
“Albeit, it’s his daughter and he’s joking about choking… the timing of the video is not good,” said Darrell London, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission worker in Georgia. “I immediately thought of Eric Garner.”
Viewers immediately took to Twitter, tweeting at Walmart about their disdain for the commercial. Walmart responded: “Consider it done,” the Walmart newsroom tweeted to viewers complaining on Twitter. “We’re recutting it now,” and another post saying “We’re re-editing as we speak based on feedback we’ve received. We can see how the ad could be viewed differently today then when it first aired.”
Danielle Ramos, one of the users who tweeted at the company, doesn’t feel that Walmart was intentionally trying to offend anyone.
“The decision to edit it given the current climate is appreciated,” Ramos told CNN. “I don’t think it was a huge company intentionally being insensitive. I just think maybe they weren’t aware just how deeply affected this nation is by all this.”