Walmart received major flak for an insensitive tweet related to the late Paul Walker, the Fast and the Furious actor who was tragically killed in a car accident in November 2013.
The tweet was made in response to an eager customer wanting to get their hands on the retail giant's recently announced offering of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with pink strawberry-and-cream icing.
Twitter user @iamlaurenmiles tweeted her enthusiasm for the product with a GIF depicting a car weaving recklessly between cars on a busy highway and captioned it with:
"*me racin to the nearest Wally World*"
*me racin to the nearest Wally World* https://t.co/JYzQaCzCQ0— LSM (@LSM) 1579032239.0
Whoever is in charge of handling the retail corporation's social media accounts seized an opportunity to advance their marketing momentum for the cinnamon rolls and responded to the customer's tweet by invoking the late actor.
"Hey, Paul Walker, Click it, or ticket."
@iamlaurenmiles https://t.co/EKWsEx6RTY— Darth Ramious (@Darth Ramious) 1579216386.0
Walmart Needs To Cool Their Jets With The Paul Walker Jokes https://t.co/kczF4wn0tS https://t.co/9rsPhsC4KW— Barstool Sports (@Barstool Sports) 1579216500.0
The phrase was also apparently used in a 2011 episode of the Comedy Central show Workaholics and fans of the show pointed out the reference.
Not that many people watched Workaholics because no one got the reference that Walmart did with the Paul Walker joke— LakersMac (@LakersMac) 1579225774.0
@Complex Only OG Workaholics fans know this line https://t.co/4H5Dj8VIA0— Connor Shaw (@Connor Shaw) 1579220860.0
@TMZ Its a workaholics reference, move on— jack (@jack) 1579214573.0
However, fans of Walker did not appreciate the retail corporation's joke.
What @Walmart tweeted about Paul Walker is a disgusting display of what Walmart cares about....nothing and no one.… https://t.co/ImvI4vtr4V— DroptheMike (@DroptheMike) 1579269403.0
@barstoolsports Another reason Walmart is the worst!— MCQ (@MCQ) 1579233168.0
We don’t do Paul Walker slander!! @Walmart— IG:Beauty__Renee (@IG:Beauty__Renee) 1579220797.0
Me deleting my @Walmart app after that insensitive tweet about Paul Walker! @Target you have a new customer! https://t.co/3aaSvwqJZz— Just Shauna (@Just Shauna) 1579219794.0
On November 30, 2013, Walker was sitting in the passenger seat in a vehicle driven by his friend professional race car driver Roger Rodas when they struck a light pole in Santa Clarita, California.
Both were killed instantly in the single-car collision. Police reported speed being a factor.
Walmart most likely referenced Workaholics use of the same line in the now-deleted tweet, and some defended the corporation for their blunder.
@BRoseTheChose @Complex While it seems insensitive, it’s a reference— Mike Craig (@Mike Craig) 1579225103.0
I get why people are mad at the Walmart Paul Walker thing, but I feel like this was more of a fast and furious refe… https://t.co/Cx9DS7zksm— DM3_GODSCHILD (@DM3_GODSCHILD) 1579221668.0
@barstoolsports I think they meant a fast and furious joke. I don’t think they meant it quite the way it was taken.… https://t.co/eAjmrSPgjB— MsPanda007🐼 (@MsPanda007🐼) 1579216790.0
But people were still angry at Walmart.
When I saw that Walmart made a Paul Walker joke... https://t.co/WaAF71zYJy— Ronny Church (@Ronny Church) 1579220265.0
@Complex Should have went with vin diesel— Alex/Alchemistnoob (@Alex/Alchemistnoob) 1579221376.0
@barstoolsports very uncool.— Phillip Anthony (@Phillip Anthony) 1579216892.0
After the social media backlash, Walmart apologized for the tweet and said it was written with "poor judgement."
There were mixed responses.
@people No, apologies don’t mean anything. That was messed up— Leanne hive (@Leanne hive) 1579229938.0
@people They did the right thing to apologize, but I honestly think if he could say something, he would not even se… https://t.co/VQXuaQa77C— Kevin Bell (@Kevin Bell) 1579232911.0
@Complex That social media manager out of a job😭— Ryan Ciechalski (@Ryan Ciechalski) 1579225345.0
Walmart's statement read:
"We apologize to Paul Walker's family, friends and fans."
"The tweet was posted in poor judgment and has been removed."