The offending shirts feature a quote from his character Negan and a drawing of his barbed wire baseball bat, Lucille. The quote read, “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” — the words Negan utters while selecting his victims.
A customer at the Primark retail stores in the U.K. found the quote offensive.
Ian Lucraft was shopping at the Sheffield branch of the Primark retail chain, saw the shirt, and was taken aback.
“We were shocked when we came face to face with a new t-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text,” he told The Star. “The slogan is ‘Eeeny meeny miny moe’ … it stops there, but of course we all know what the original said: ‘catch a n—– by his toe.'”
Lucraft added, “the graphic has a large American baseball bat, wrapped round with barbed wire, and covered with blood. This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America. It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood.”
Primark pulled the shirts from its stores and issued the following apology: “The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, ‘The Walking Dead,’ and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this.”
In the show, Negan used the word “tiger” instead of the racial epithet. Morgan reacted strongly to the shirts’ removal, tweeting, “Holy crap people are stupid” and including a link to the story about the shirts.
Holy crap people are stupid. 'Walking Dead’ Shirt Pulled From Stores After Complaint of Racism https://t.co/cpeIqcxTwJ
— Jeffrey Dean Morgan (@JDMorgan) February 22, 2017
AMC, the network that airs “The Walking Dead,” did not comment on the matter.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on the cabler.