Walmart Pulls a Line of Tasteless Christmas Sweaters Showing Santa Doing Drugs, and in Bondage

image captured from pulled down web page at Walmart.com

To offer up a tacky item Walmart did not need to try this hard.

The Walmart corporation issued a statement where the store chain announced it would be taking down for sale a collection of “tacky” Christmas sweaters. Displaying a variety of non-traditional images, what initially sparked the controversy was one covering depicting Santa involved in cocaine usage.

Other sweaters being offered up were those showing the Claus couple in an S&M scene, and Santa being anally probed by aliens. When the items were highlighted on social media the store chain reacted by retracting the offered sweaters from the Walmart-Canada sales sites. The company explained they were not initially responsible, as the items were offered for sale by an outside affiliate vendor.

The main sweater in question shows Santa with a straw in hand, standing behind a table with what appears to be lines of cocaine, and the words LET IT SNOW below. The amazement is that Walmart can claim any ignorance on the matter. This is not a case of a retailer caught off guard when an item can be reinterpreted by social activists, such as when one home goods store recently offered jack-o-lanterns in varying hues and was accused of selling “blackface pumpkins”. The store chain had a serious blindspot in this case.

Not only is the imagery rather blatant, but the ad copy accompanying the item makes it very clear what the intention of the messaging was to be.

The only way Walmart can claim obliviousness is if they merely struck a deal for the company to place its own ad pages on the Walmart website, and never vetted the content. Maybe the most surprising aspect of the reaction is that we are not hearing the usual outcry about there being a “War on Christmas” with these items. It could be just as surprising there has been no condemnation about Santa being shown using a plastic straw.

Beyond the drug use sweater there is — oddly — a number of others that were offered with Santa depicted without pants. In one he was being whipped by Mrs. Claus while on his knees, another portrayed him lying prone as an alien wields a probe, and a third showed him hanging stockings by a lit fireplace sans trousers, with the words “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”.

As the tacky-sweater tradition might be reaching peak imagery this season the Walmart retraction may not be bad news for those desiring one of these warmers. Most of the sweaters can be found across other retail sites, if one endeavors to crash their office Christmas party with a bare-assed Kringle displayed across their chest.