Walmart pulls "Rope. Tree. Journalist." T-shirt from site

WASHINGTON - Walmart (WMT) has pulled a T-shirt offered by an outside seller from its online store after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

The shirt, listed on Walmart.com through third-party seller Teespring, said: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED."

"This item was sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace and clearly violates our policy," Walmart said. "We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention, and are conducting a thorough review of the seller's assortment."

Teespring, which is owned by KA Design, allows people to post shirt designs. The company did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

A shirt with the same sentiment had been spotted at a rally during the presidential campaign.

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) said Walmart notified it about five hours after its complaint that the shirt was being removed.

"It is our belief that at the least, T-shirts or any other items bearing such words simply inflame the passions of those who either don't like, or don't understand, the news media," Dan Shelley, executive director of the RTDNA, said in a letter to Walmart leaders. "At worst, they openly encourage violence targeting journalists. We believe they are particularly inflammatory within the context of today's vitriolic political and ideological environment.

The group cited statistics showing that nearly three dozen journalists have been physically assaulted in the US this year. At least 48 journalists have been killed in other countries around the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In August, Teespring removed a "rainbow swastika" T-shirt from its own site and said it would increase oversight of its product line. Before pulling the T-shirt, KA Design had said the swastika symbol is thousands of years old and represents peace, love, life and other ideas.