Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Walmart says it will remove sexually explicit toys placed in the children’s section of its website after a woman shopping for a gift for her young nephew came across the graphic products.

Danica Bennett said she stumbled upon the items two weeks ago after searching on Google for Christmas gift ideas for her 10-year-old nephew.

She said she ended up on Walmart’s website where she saw pornographic images advertising sex products in the children’s “Toys” and “Stuffed Animals”.

Bennett said she contacted Walmart several times over the past two weeks to report the sexually explicit items and have them removed from the website, but was unsuccessful.

She said she was told Walmart had escalated the issue, but no action had been taken.

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“It does not hurt me to see them, but my concern is children,” Bennett said. “Walmart is a massive company. They should be able to figure this out in less than two weeks.”

Bennett said her three-year-old daughter was with her when she shopped online and also saw the pictures.

“She probably does not understand what she saw, but she still saw them,” Bennett said.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Thursday, Walmart said it apologizes for any unintentional infringement caused by the products.

The company said the goods are sold by third-party sellers on Walmart.ca.

“They do not represent Walmart’s values ​​and have no place on our marketplace website,” a company spokesman said. “We are removing the items and will investigate how this happened.”

Walmart also said the seller will be fired and will no longer be allowed to advertise items on their website.

While at least one of the items was removed from Walmart.ca Thursday afternoon, CTV News Toronto found sexually explicit products that are still visible in the children’s section.

“It’s obviously a mistake,” Bennett said. “But solving the problem is where I’m stuck. Why do they not do more?”

Bennett contacted CTV News Toronto after reading a story earlier this week about an Ontario woman who bought a toy cactus from Walmart’s website that curses and sings in Polish about making cocaine.

Walmart has now removed the singing cactus from its website.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

Technology analyst Carmi Levy told CTV News Toronto that these items appear on Walmart’s website because the company allows items to be sold online from third-party vendors.

“One of the dirty secrets of e-commerce is that you think you’re buying from a trusted brand,” Levy said. “It’s a big problem.”

Levy said offering third-party products online is almost always a positive strategy for companies like Walmart because it allows them to sell more products without actually having to have them in stock.

“It’s morally or ethically questionable, but it’s good for them,” Levy said. “Companies like Walmart can offer a much wider range of things because they have partners so they sell more.”

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Levy said because Walmart allows thousands of third-party articles online, some find their way to the site that should not.

“There’s not an army of people looking at every product to see if it’s good,” he said.

Levy said that while shopping online at sites like Walmart, it’s important to read it in fine print to make sure the item is actually coming from the company.

“They’re not making it easy for consumers,” he said.

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