Walmart has determined that a photo making the rounds on the internet showing a sign that reads “Own The School Year Like A Hero” on top of a gun display was just a prank.
The store gave its assessment of a picture linking gun sales to school preparedness. The photo, tweeted by @OMGItsBirdman Wednesday, caused a lot of controversy on the internet due to sensitivity about school shootings, and it has been retweeted more than 40,000 times.
“We have definite proof it was a prank,” Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told The Associated Press on Friday. “This is a result of a collective effort by a number of associates who take things like this seriously.”
Crowson did not specify what proof Walmart had and he did not say that the sign was placed there for a staged photo or if an employee or customer moved the sign there or if it was placed there by mistake.
A Walmart in Evansville, Indiana, was initially suggested as the location of the photo, but Crowson said that was not the case.
The photo was posted on Wednesday, and a look at Walmart’s tweets and replies on its official Twitter account shows that it has been responding with constant apologies since then.
Some people on social media were wise to this being a prank, while @GR3GB3 said the negative swarm to the sign is “why our country sucks.”
“No one has a sense of humor anymore,” the user tweeted.
Still, a number of people criticized the company on social media, expressing disgust.
“Lemme just scoop my jaw off the floor,” @JacobAWare tweeted.
“I’ve seen a lot of disturbing pictures of folks shopping at WalMart, but this tops them all,” @Jethro_blue wrote.