Retailers offer holiday products some see as insensitive

People participate in a parade to celebrate Juneteenth on June 19, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.  Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States and the Juneteenth National Independence Day became the 12th legal federal holiday signed on June 17th, 2021.

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers and marketers have been quick to commemorate Juneteenth with an avalanche of merchandise from ice cream to T-shirts to party cups.

But many are getting backlash on social media for what critics say undermines the day, designated as a federal holiday last year to honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. A search for Juneteenth items among online sellers like Amazon and JC Penney produced everything from toothpicks with pan-African flags to party plates and balloons.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, apologized last month after getting slammed for a Juneteenth ice cream flavor — swirled red velvet and cheesecake — under its store label Great Value. Walmart said it’s reviewing its product assortment and will remove items “as appropriate.” As of Friday, Walmart’s site was still offering lots of T-shirts and party plates.

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