[COMMENTARY] Sears, Kmart Pull Shirts Calling Insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt an ‘American Patriot’ After Twitter Backlash
As “#NeverForgetJanuary6th” was trending on Tuesday to commemorate the six months that have elapsed since the Capitol was attacked by Trump supporters attempting to prevent a legitimate election from being certified, Twitter users learned that two of America’s largest retail chains are profiting from the campaign to turn an insurrectionist into a martyr.
Republicans have been using Ashli Babbitt as a talking point to distract from the impending prosecutions against the Trump Organization in New York. Dead people are a convenient distraction, the GOP can pretend to speak for her while working overtime to rewrite the history of that day. Why not goose the grift with a snappy t-shirt, right?
Vox contributor Aaron Rupar tweeted the link to the shirt, tagging both Sears and Kmart to identify them as the sellers of propaganda.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 6, 2021
The backlash was immediate, especially considering how everyone was feeling about the 6-month anniversary of the domestic terror attack on our Capitol.
Sears and Kmart are selling t-shirts that say Ashli Babbitt was a Patriot, and they wonder why they keep losing business and have to keep closing stores. SMFH.
— Amy Lynn🧦 (@AmyAThatcher) July 6, 2021
Babbitt was shot once in the shoulder by a Capitol police lieutenant while attempting to crawl through a broken window leading to the Speaker's Lobby outside the US House of Representatives' chamber. She wasn't crawling through glass to sing Kumbaya. Shame on Sears & KMart. https://t.co/Pd7e2e6Ccs
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) July 6, 2021
Sears and Kmart are selling “Ashli Babbitt American Patriot” t-shirts.
TBH I thought they were both already out of business, but now feels like the right time.
— Kate 🤍🇺🇸 (@ImSpeaking13) July 6, 2021
Profiting from death isn’t new in this country, of course, but no one who breaks into the Capitol and threatens the lives of the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and the rest of Congress should be considered heroic or a martyr, and the tweets kept coming at both of the mega-chains for quite some time.
Kmart should probably just rebrand itself as QMart.
— Mark Russell (@Manruss) July 6, 2021
Chart of Sears stock matches the moral bottom of American Conservatism pic.twitter.com/xvt0vUqF38
— Accredited Source (@en_passant_77) July 6, 2021
Ashli Babbitt wasn’t a patriot. She was a traitor to the country, she wasn’t an innocent among the insurrectionists…she WAS an insurrectionist.
This is embarrassing and should be taken down immediately.
And 🖕🏻all the insurrectionists! pic.twitter.com/I72PDvKXMi
— 𝔼𝕝𝕝𝕖 𝕎𝕚𝕓𝕓𝕝𝕖🇮🇪🇺🇸 (@ElleWibble) July 6, 2021
But an interesting thing happened within two hours of those tweets going out: Sears and Kmart quietly removed the shirt from their websites, while not making a peep about it from their Twitter accounts.
Social media activism is clearly effective, and perhaps both Sears and Kmart will learn to check their inventory with a little more scrutiny in the future. For now, screenshots still remain the most effective tool in keeping them and any other retailers who continue to profit from the insurrection in check.
— Mary K Geise (@MaryGeise) July 6, 2021
[Neither Sears nor Kmart had issued any statement on Twitter at the time of this writing, but should they release any explanation or apology, we will update this story accordingly.]