Walmart fundraiser with Black employee in makeshift ‘jail’ sparks racial backlash

This is a photo of the Walmart store on Silver Spring Street in Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC said they are “deeply dismayed and disturbed” after a Black Walmart employee was seen placed in a makeshift “jail” with signs asking customers to “bail” him out as part of a fundraiser.

Harrison Tuttle, director of BLM RI PAC, said Thursday that the money was going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

“This display not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes but also showcases a blatant lack of respect and understanding for the experiences of marginalized communities,” said Tuttle.

The Black Lives Matter RI PAC posted a photo of a Black employee in the “jail” with a sign that read, “I’m in Jail!!! I need Bail!!! Help me raise $50 to get out!! All donations going to Hasbro Children’s Miracle Network!!”

Tuttle said said they’re asking for Walmart to investigate the incident and issue an apology.

In a statement Friday, Walmart said the display for the fundraiser “goes against company policy and should never be used.”

Joe Pennington, a spokesperson for Walmart, added that as part of the fundraiser, they encouraged store associates to “creatively engage with one another and customers to raise money.”

“We are reinforcing this with our stores in the area, and this display has been removed from our Providence location,” said Pennington.

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