Calls to boycott Sears and Kmart over 'Ashli Babbitt American Patriot' t-shirt
Retail giants Sears and Kmart faced severe backlash from netizens after a particular product sold on their websites went viral. A t-shirt emblazoned with the message: 'Ashli Babbitt American Patriot, was found on their e-commerce portals which stirred a huge controversy. A major section of social media users called for a boycott of Sears and Kmart for selling a product that portrays slain Capital rioter Ashli Babbitt as a national hero.
Babbitt was an Army veteran and supporter of former President Donald Trump, and among the MAGA rioters who stormed the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021. She had tweeted in anticipation of the protests and had traveled to Capitol Hill for the same. Babbitt was reportedly shot by Capitol police after which she fell to the floor of the Capitol with blood pouring from her mouth. She was later identified among the deceased at the Capitol riots.
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Since her death, Babbitt has been hailed as a patriot by right-wing extremists and majority of Trump supporters, some of whom even launched movements like 'Justice for Ashli Babbitt'. However, the general public did not seem too pleased with mainstream retailers like Sears and Kmart selling T-shirts in her honor. "Retweet if Sears and Kmart should go out of business," journalist David Leavitt tweeted in protest.
FUCK YOU @sears and @kmart for selling shirts that calls the insurrectionist "‘Ashli Babbitt American Patriot"— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) July 6, 2021
Retweet if Sears and Kmart should go out of business. https://t.co/JlvEafEx2L
Following the uproar, Sears issued a statement confirming that the product had been removed from Sears.com and kmart.com. They thanked journalist Aaron Rupar for highlighting the sale of the t-shirt on their platforms.
Thank you for bringing this product to our attention. This item is no longer available for purchase on https://t.co/X2bSIlvdyK or https://t.co/XcgrhIoktX.— Sears (@Sears) July 6, 2021
Who owns Sears and Kmart?
Both Sears and Kmart are presently owned by the Sears Holdings Corporation which has its headquarters in Illinois. In 2005, an $11 billion merger between Sears and Kmart was announced after both the store chains suffered from lackluster sales. The original Sears was founded as Sears, Roebuck and Co, way back in 1893 in Chicago by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck. Meanwhile, Kmart emerged from the SS Kresge Company launched in 1899 as a chain of 'five and dime' stores.
At present, Sears Holdings Corporation is owned by the parent company Transformco - which describes itself as "a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve our members." The founder of Transformco is Eddie Lampert, who was also the erstwhile chairman and CEO of Sears. Meanwhile, Aylwin Lewis serves as the present President and CEO of Sears Holdings Corporation.
'Kmart and Sears are trash'
Despite pulling the product from their shelves, Sears and Kmart continued to face criticism for the t-shirt. "Sears and Kmart, as an Army Veteran who took an oath to defend the Constitution, I find this clothing apparel a disgrace for what our country and Democracy are supposed to represent," tweeted US Army veteran David Weissman.
"Ashli Babbitt was an insurrectionist. Kmart and Sears are trash. That is all," tweeted leftist political commentator BrooklynDad_Defiant. "Sears and Kmart are selling “Ashli Babbitt American Patriot” t-shirts. TBH I thought they were both already out of business, but now feels like the right time," tweeted a user. A second user reminded, "How many times has Kmart and Sears declared bankruptcy in the last 30 years? Twelve."
"Thanks for the warning. Sear and Kmart will never get another dollar from my family," another user resolved.
Sears and Kmart, as an Army Veteran who took an oath to defend the Constitution, I find this clothing apparel a disgrace for what our country and Democracy are supposed to represent.— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) July 7, 2021
Ashli Babbitt was an insurrectionist.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) July 7, 2021
Kmart and Sears are trash.
That is all.
Sears and Kmart are selling “Ashli Babbitt American Patriot” t-shirts.— Kate 🤍🇺🇸 (@ImSpeaking13) July 6, 2021
TBH I thought they were both already out of business, but now feels like the right time.
How many times has Kmart and Sears declared bankruptcy in the last 30 years? Twelve. https://t.co/TijkBjlzo1— S. Preston Garcia (@Sgarcia81) July 7, 2021
Thanks for the warning. Sear and Kmart will never get another dollar from my family.— Luke Skytoker (@LSkytoker) July 7, 2021
Prominent conservative author Brigitte Gabriel, however, supported Kmart and Sears for honoring Babbitt's 'legacy'.
"I applaud Kmart and Sears for carrying the Ashli Babbitt shirt in the first place, but I am extremely disappointed to see them cave and remove the product from their stores so quickly. Why do businesses always cave to leftist Twitter trolls?"
I applaud Kmart and Sears for carrying the Ashli Babbitt shirt in the first place, but I am extremely disappointed to see them cave and remove the product from their stores so quickly.— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) July 7, 2021
Why do businesses always cave to leftist Twitter trolls?