US supermarket removes 'Rope. Tree. Journalist' t-shirt from sale

An association said it could 'inflame' those who dislike the news media

US supermarket removes 'Rope. Tree. Journalist' t-shirt from sale

Image: Radio Television Digital News Association

A supermarket in the US has removed a t-shirt from sale following an outcry from members of the press.

The t-shirt featured the words 'Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED' and was offered for sale by Walmart.

The t-shirt was for sale on Walmart's website by a third-party seller, Teespring.com.

Teespring.com also offered a coffee mug featuring the same slogan.

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) says it sent a letter to top Walmart executives requesting its removal.

In the letter, RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley said the shirts could "simply inflame the passions of those who either don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media.

"At worst, they openly encourage violence targeting journalists."

The RTDNA says less than five hours later, Mr Shelley received an e-mail from Walmart saying: "We have forwarded this to the appropriate team to remove it.

"Walmart.com does appreciate feedback like this so that offensive material does not appear on our website".

The RTDNA adds that less than 24 hours after Walmart removed the shirt from its website, Teespring.com removed it from its site as well.

Mr Shelley said: "We are grateful for Walmart's swift action, but dismayed that it, and anyone else selling the shirt, would offer such an offensive and inflammatory product.

"We live in an environment in which political and ideological discourse has deteriorated to the level where some find it appropriate to advocate violence targeting journalists merely for performing their Constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth," he added.

The 'Rope. Tree. Journalist.' slogan has been in existence for several years.

The shirt gained notoriety during the 2016 US presidential election campaign when some people began wearing it at rallies.

A Reuters journalist tweeted a photo of a man wearing the shirt just prior to the election.