Walmart received backlash from Paul Walker fans Thursday after its official Twitter account made an insensitive joke referencing the late actor.
In response to a Twitter user that claimed to be “racin'” to the popular retail store, Walmart tweeted, “Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket” with a police siren emoji.
Fans found the tweet to be massively insensitive since the late “Fast & Furious” actor died as a passenger in a traffic collision back in 2013. The car was traveling at speeds exceeding 100 mph at the time of the crash.
— TJ #CHOP 🪓 (@TJHitchings) January 16, 2020
Many Paul Walker fans were quick to screen-shot the tweet, accurately predicting Walmart would regret the decision and delete it later. Like fans’ guessed, the store’s official account eventually took the tweet down, according to TMZ.
One Twitter user wrote, “yo @Walmart we need to have a talk bro.” Another followed up with, “yo whoever run the Walmart social media is a WILD ass person,” alongside crying emojis.
One fan cautioned, “Don’t ever speak on Paul Walker @Walmart put some respect on his name.”
With everyone calling the store out, Walmart realized they needed to issue some type of response. TMZ reached out for a comment, and Walmart issued an apology to the publication.
“We apologize to Paul Walker’s family, friends and fans. The tweet was posted in poor judgment and has been removed,” Walmart said in its comment.
The tweet appeared on the store’s official account for a couple hours before corporate stepped in and deleted it from Walmart’s Twitter account and issued its apology.
Walmart Makes Insensitive Paul Walker Joke on Twitter https://t.co/odgmjrAsoH
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 16, 2020
However, fans seemed to have different opinions on Paul Walker than his fans, pointing out the joke was a “Workaholics reference.” While one said, “oh ffs lighten up people. Everybody is looking to be offended these days,” others even went as far as to defend Walmart’s original tweet by claiming the late actor was a pedophile “dating 15-year-old girls.”
However, these allegations are unsubstantiated and rely on the grooming notion that some women Walker dated legally, he had originally met when they were still underage.
No one ever talks anyhow he dated several 15 year olds when he was alive.
— Rebekah J (@Zuri_Recca) January 16, 2020
Walmart’s insensitive tweet was likely an attempt at a “Workaholics” reference. The popular comedy TV show starring Blake Anderson, Adam Devine and Anders Holm ended in 2017.
Adam Devine’s character says the phrase in Season 1 episode 2 of “Workaholics.” However, Walmart should’ve realized their faux pas because the original line appeared on the show in 2011, before Paul Walker’s accident.
Nevertheless, it seems while Walmart didn’t realize how its reference would come across with the late actor’s fans and family, they also didn’t intend harm by the joke. However, the company’s quick apology was likely its best attempt to save face after backlash rolled in.