Walmart is ordering employees to remove video game displays that reference violence, including any signs or console stations that depict "violent images or aggressive behavior."
According to documents shared on Twitter and Reddit, employees are ordered to remove such displays from Walmart salesfloors immediately. The order includes no details about removing guns from Walmart salesfloors. Guns are sold in almost 5,000 Walmarts in the United States, which makes up about half of Walmart stores in total.
The Walmart document can be described in two different halves. The first half of the document orders employees any displays containing violent images and violent behavior. It also tells employees to use their "best judgment" to determine whether a display is appropriate or not. In cases where it isn't clear one way or another, employees are told to remove the item as a "precautionary measure."
The second half of the Walmart document has a bulleted list of specific actions for employees to take. The first says to "turn off or unplug" any PlayStation or Xbox consoles that show violent games. Xbox and PlayStation are explicitly mentioned. The message continues, saying that any demos with violent games will be "updated" by merchandisers within the next week.
The bullet points continue, telling Walmart employees to cancel any events "promoting combat style or third-person shooter games." Presumably, this is for Walmart locations that allow reservations for in-store usage of computer or gaming hardware for social gatherings or tournaments. The memo also requests that violent movies and "hunting season videos" are turned off. Note that Walmart never explicitly asks for videos showing guns to be removed, just violent actions including hunting videos.
Criticism of Walmart continues to mount since the past week's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Activists have encouraged Walmart, which is the United States' top gun seller, end its gun policy and stop selling weapons but Walmart announced Monday that it will not change its policy on gun sales. However, it seems to have changed its policies regarding advertising video games and movies with any perceived violence. The new policy has been criticized for doing more to avoid the appearance of contributing to violence than to actually counter gun violence.