Retailers Walmart and Sears, and e-commerce company eBay, all announced this week that they plan to remove Confederate flag merchandise from their stores and websites.
The announcements come just after Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina stated in a press conference that she supports the removal of the controversial flag from the statehouse in the wake of the racially-motivated mass shooting at a church in Charleston last week.
To many, the Confederate flag stands as a symbol of hate and racism, Reuters reports. Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old suspect in the Charleston shooting, was seen in pictures online posing with the Confederate flag.
Others, however, claim the Confederate flag represents an integral part of Southern culture and history.
“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment -- whether in our stores or on our web site,” Walmart Stores Inc. spokesman Brian Nick said in a statement on Monday.
“We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell," he said, regarding the fact that Walmart's website still showed the flag available for purchase as of Monday. "Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly -- this is one of those instances."
Sears Holdings Corporation, which owns Sears and Kmart stores, subsequently announced that they would also cease selling Confederate flag merchandise from third-party vendors.
“We are in the process of scrubbing our marketplace to pull those items down,” Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite said.
Johanna Hoff, an eBay spokesperson, announced that the company is banning the Confederate flag and "many items containing this image," according to CNN.
The auction site has deemed the flag a "contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," Hoff stated on Tuesday.
CNN reportedly reached out to Amazon asking if the company also planned on banning Confederate flag merchandise. They did not respond to comment.
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