Walmart says it will remove pornographic toys from its children’s section of its website after a mother complained
Walmart said it will remove pornographic toys placed in the children’s section of its website after a woman buying a gift for her young grandson came across the graphic products.
Danica Bennett said she stumbled across these items two weeks ago after searching for Christmas gift ideas on Google for her 10-year-old grandchild.
She said she visited Walmart’s website, where she saw sexually explicit images promoting sexual products in the “Toys” and “Stuffed Animals” sections for children.
Bennett said she has contacted Walmart several times in the past two weeks to report the pornographic items and ask them to be removed from the site, but with no luck.
She said she was told Walmart had escalated the issue, but no action had been taken.
“I don’t see any harm in watching them, but my concern is with the children,” says Bennett. “Walmart is a big company. They could figure this out in less than two weeks.”
Bennett said her three-year-old daughter was with her when she was shopping online and also saw these images.
“She might not understand what she saw, but she still saw them,” says Bennett.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Thursday, Walmart said it apologizes for any unintended violations caused by the product.
The company said the items were sold by third-party sellers on Walmart.ca.
“They do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our marketplace website,” said a company spokesperson. “We are removing the entries and will look into how this happened.”
Walmart also said sellers will be terminated and will no longer be allowed to advertise merchandise on their website.
While at least one of the entries was removed from Walmart.ca as of Thursday afternoon, CTV News Toronto found pornographic products still showing up in the children’s section.
“It was clearly a mistake,” Bennett said. “But problem-solving is where I’m stuck. Why don’t they do more?”
Bennett contacted CTV News Toronto after reading a story earlier this week about an Ontario woman who bought a toy cactus from the Walmart website swearing and singing in Polish about making cocaine.
Walmart has now removed the singing cactus from its website.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Technology analyst Carmi Levy told CTV News Toronto that these items are appearing on Walmart’s website because the company allows items to be sold online from third-party vendors.
“One of the dirty tricks of e-commerce is that you think you’re buying from a trusted brand,” says Levy.
Offering third-party products online is almost always a positive strategy for companies like Walmart, Levy said, because it allows them to sell more products without actually having to stock them.
“Ethically or ethically it matters, but it’s good for them,” says Levy. “Companies like Walmart can offer more because they have partners, so they sell more.”
Because Walmart allows thousands of third-party items online, some find their way onto the site, Levy said.
“There isn’t an army of people going through each product to see if it’s any good,” he says.
While shopping online on sites, like Walmart, it’s important to read the fine print to make sure the item actually comes from the company, says Levy.
“They don’t make it easy for consumers,” he said.