An apparently official The Walking Dead T-shirt was removed from the shelves of a UK department store chain after it was deemed “racist” and “offensive.” The shirt inspired by the villainous Negan contained a reprint of the nursery rhyme he used before killing his victims along with an image of his barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat: “Eeny meeny miny moe”, reported Entertainment Weekly quoting a BBC News report.
The commonly known kids’ rhyme was featured in the sixth season finale of TV’s highest-rated drama, as well as in plenty of other moments in pop culture. But at one point there were versions of rhyme which contained a racial slur, substituting the N-word for “tiger” in the phrase “catch a tiger by the toe.”
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That version was taught to American schoolchildren more than a century ago. Apparently, a Primark customer spotted the shirt, was familiar with the rhyme’s lesser-known usage and told The Sheffield Star, which quoted him as saying, “This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America. It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood.”
The customer went on to point out that he assumes the reference was accidental and that the show and retailer had no idea what they were suggesting.
Primark then said it was pulling the shirt from store shelves and issued a statement, “The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the US television series, The Walking Dead, and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologises for this.”
AMC, which airs The Walking Dead had no immediate comment.