Kevin Westley, the Irish American man who successfully lobbied his local Walmart to stop selling t-shirts labeling the Irish as drunks in the lead-up to St. Patrick's Day is now taking on Walmart corporate for the offensive Irish t-shirts the megastore company is selling on their website.
It's less than one month to go until St. Patrick's Day, and, like clockwork, stores and websites across the US are stocking their shelves with green t-shirts to wear on March 17.
Some of these t-shirts are bright and cheery displays of Irish pride and love for Ireland, others display funny puns or sayings. But there's another category of these t-shirts: ones designed to glorify and promote the stereotype that the Irish are drunks and St. Patrick's Day is nothing more than a day to get drunk beyond all recognition and throw up.
Kevin Westley is an Irish American who successfully took on his local Walmart back in 2015 in a one-man campaign, buying hundreds of their offensive Irish t-shirts to get them off the shelves and then, per Walmart's exchange policy, returning them all on March 18.
Westley, a radio host and Irish dance instructor from Long Island, got widespread media attention for his campaign after IrishCentral broke the story. And in the years since, he's been delighted to see his local Walmarts in East Meadow and Uniondale stocking no offensive or stereotyping t-shirts.
However, this year he has been outraged to see a bumper crop of insulting t-shirts on the Walmart website, emblazoned with phrases like "Need help with a drinking problem? Give us a call today. Irish Anonymous" or "I'm so Irish my liver hurts."
Westley posted the following on his Facebook page, asking others to join him in his boycott and outlining various ways to protest:
"In 2016, 2017 and 2018 local Walmart stores did not sell any offensive stereotypical drinking T-shirts for St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, the Walmart website is selling offensive drinking Irish stereotype shirts for 2018. I have called and tried to contact them through the website several times. Never get a reply.
"All stereotypes are bad, regardless what group they demean. Think of the thousands of job or housing opportunities have been lost because of them. If you agree with me, please call Walmart corporate office on their toll-free line at 1-800-925-6278. Better yet, “contact” them at https://help.walmart.com/ and let them know what you think about these T-shirts.
If you come across other retailers are offering offensive merchandise:
- Ask to speak to the owner, manager or customer service representative.
- Explain that St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day in Ireland. Ask if they would sell offensive stereotypical T-shirts for Dr. Martin LutherKing, Jr. Day, Puerto Rican Day, St. Joseph’s Day, etc.
- Let them know that you find the merchandise offensive and politely ask them to remove them.
- If they refuse, ask to see the return policy.
- Consider purchasing some and pay for it via charge card.
- Return the merchandise on March 18 for a full refund.
- Boycott that store for the month of March in honor of St. Patrick.
Check out more of the offensive merchandise below. Will you be participating in Westley's boycott? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Not a great motto.
Way to be mean to both the Irish and brave Search and Rescue workers.
Modeling healthy relationship goals?
Not what St. Patrick's Day is about
Equating being Irish with cirrhosis - classy.
Again, not what being Irish is about.
Not a good look for anyone.