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‘Walking Dead’ Shirt Pulled Over Racist Complaint, Star Claims ‘People Are Stupid’

Walking Dead Racist Shirt Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The Walking Dead has had no shortage of controversy since the brain-bashing arrival of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, though the series may have inadvertently stoked racial tension as well. U.K. suppliers apparently pulled official merchandise over accusations of racism, though Morgan himself dismisses the controversy with “people are stupid.”

The issue began with U.K. department store Primark, when a customer complained about a T-shirt highlighting Negan’s bloody bat atop the words “Eeny meeny miny moe,” a reference to the character’s use of the rhyme to decide which of Rick’s gang to kill. As many have pointed out, said rhyme has a racist history of replacing the “tiger” in “catch a tiger by the toe” with the N-word; lending the shirt an ominous tone outside of its Walking Dead context.

For its part, Primark pulled the shirt, stating:

The t-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, The Walking Dead, and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offence caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologises for this.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan himself, on the other hand, had a less understanding reaction:

The scene itself isn’t given significant racial undertone (ironically, Negan resists killing Korean-American Glenn to avoid the appearance of racism), but it’s certainly plausible The Walking Dead might have missed some racial insensitivity in its zeal to market the character. Those not well-versed with The Walking Dead could easily see a sinister context to the shirt, and Morgan’s retort seems far from understanding of that.

AMC had no comment on the matter, but was the shirt worth pulling off of shelves?

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