Walmart will no longer lock up 'multicultural' hair and beauty products in wake of protests

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Friday, June 12, 2020
Walmart will no longer lock up 'multicultural' hair and beauty products
The company said the long-standing practice was to deter shoplifting, but many black customers called it discriminatory.

Walmart will drop its long-standing policy of locking up multicultural hair and beauty products, which is a practice that many African American customers claimed was discriminatory.

KCNC-TV first reported Wednesday that the retail giant would no longer encase these products after a woman brought up questions over the practice.

"If I want Suave or TRESemme or Pantene, it's out. The multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass. That's so ridiculous," Lauren Epps told the Denver TV station, pointing out that some hair products were out in the open.

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ABC13 reached out to Walmart regarding the end of its practice. In a statement, a representative insisted the practice of encasing was to prevent shoplifting and it was also extended to other products beyond multicultural hair products.

"As a retailer serving millions of customers every day from diverse backgrounds, Walmart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Like other retailers, the cases were put in place to deter shoplifters from some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products.

We're sensitive to the issue and understand the concerns raised by our customers and members of the community and have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products - a practice in place in about a dozen of our 4,700 stores nationwide - in locked cases."

Walmart is the latest nationwide, customer-facing business to undergo swift change in the wake of widespread protests for George Floyd, the Houston man who died while being pinned underneath a white officer's knee. For example, Nike and its subsidiaries pledged to donate $100 million for social justice and equality efforts.