Why Colombia Is Threatening to Sue Walmart for These Cocaine-Themed Holiday Sweaters

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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A Colombian government agency is threatening to sue Walmart for selling a holiday-themed sweater that portrays a snowy Santa Claus with three lines of “grade A Colombian” cocaine.

The garment, advertised as a “Men’s Let it Snow Ugly Christmas Sweater,” features the wide-eyed snowman in a Santa outfit above the words “Let it snow.” The description for the holiday knitted top reads: “We all know how snow works. It’s white, powdery and the best snow comes straight from South America. That’s bad news for jolly old St. Nick, who lives far away in the North Pole. That’s why Santa really likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A Colombian snow.”

After garnering backlash for the sweater on social media, Walmart apologized over the weekend and removed the apparel, which was being sold by a third-party seller on the retailer’s Canada division website, on Monday.

They “do not represent Walmart Canada’s values and have no place on our website,” a spokesman said in a statement, according to NBC News. “We apologize for any unintended offense this may have caused.”

Additionally, the retailer removed other insensitive holiday-themed merchandise from the same seller, a company called FUN Wear.

But that hasn’t mollified the Colombian government. The Washington Post reports that the South American country’s National Agency for Legal Defense of the State has demanded that Walmart compensate Colombia for the harm the listing caused.

“The Walmart sweater is an offense to the country,” Camilo Gómez Alzate, director of the agency, said, according to the newspaper. “It generates damage to the legal products of Colombia and damage to the country’s reputation. Although Walmart apologized, the damage was done.”

If the retailer fails to comply with the Colombian government, Gómez said it would file a lawsuit.

“Colombia must be respected,” Gómez added. “What will the family of a person who died in the fight against drug trafficking feel when a firm like Walmart promotes a bag of cocaine from Colombia?”

This is the second time this week the country has made headlines for being linked and stereotyped to drugs or violence in pop culture. On Sunday, host Steve Harvey made a harmful remark about cartels to Miss Colombia during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.