International clothing retailer Primark has pulled a “Walking Dead” T-shirt from their stores after one shopper called out the phrase's offensive origins.
The shirt, which featured a bloodied baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire with the words “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe," refers to the fictional character Negan from the cult zombie TV show, who utters the children’s rhyme before attacking his victims with his bat, Lucille. The slogan came from the final episode of the sixth season.
The children's rhyme is now recited as, "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, Catch a tiger by the toe." It's original words included the N-word.
Sheffield News reported that shopper Ian Lucraft was so offended by the T-shirt that he directly complained to the UK-based discount clothing store’s Chief Executive Paul Marchant.
“We were shocked when we came face to face with a new T-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text,” explained the Methodist minister. “It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in this process of ordering it knew what they were doing or were aware of its subliminal messages.”
“The slogan is ‘Eeny meenie miny moe…’ It stops there, but of course we all know what the original said: ‘catch a n----r by his toe,’” added Lucraft.
Ludcraft also stated he asked the salesperson at the checkout if other people had questioned the shirt, but learned that she reportedly didn’t see it as it was new stock. However, when he informed her of his reasoning, “she too was horrified.”
“The graphic has a large American baseball bat, wrapped round with barbed wire, and covered with blood. This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America," said Ludcraft. "It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood.”
In the famous scene, Negan used the word “tiger," as opposed to the N-word.
A spokesman for Primark said that the questionable garment has been withdrawn and added: “The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, ‘The Walking Dead’, and the quote and image are taken directly from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 offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this. Primark is currently removing the product from sale.”
Sheffield News also revealed that the popular children’s counting rhyme has existed in various forms since well before 1820.