Cake refusal causes backlash for Walmart

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

The nation’s largest retailer got a bunch of free publicity over the weekend thanks to its McDonough store - but not the kind the company would want to have.

Atlanta-area and national media reported that employees of the Walmart on Willow Drive next to I-75 refused to bake a “thin blue line” cake for a police officer’s retirement party because they said it was racist.

A friend of the officer’s family published a Facebook post about the incident last Thursday and it went viral, piquing the interest of Atlanta television news as well as popular online news sites such as Breitbart and the Blaze.

Todd Starnes, in a report for Fox News and his own column, said he spoke directly with the officer’s daughter Saturday night and recounted some of that conversation while withholding her name at her request. She was the customer who attempted to purchase the cake on her father’s behalf.

Starnes also reported, as did other news outlets, that Walmart admitted most of her allegations were true. The store manager called the police officer’s family to apologize and offer a free cake plus a $50 gift card.

“Our goal is to always take care of customers,” a Walmart corporate spokesperson told Starnes. “But, sometimes we misstep. We’re glad we were able to connect with the family to apologize and make this right.”

While not confirming whether a Walmart associate actually called the proposed cake racist, “I can confirm an associate made a mistake that has since been corrected for the customer,” the spokesperson added.

According to the report, the manager offered to make and decorate a new cake but the store’s cake decorators refused to comply.

As of Monday afternoon, the original Facebook post by Taylor Wilkes of Locust Grove had been shared more than 4,500 times. In an update posted Saturday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the original post: “The manager at Walmart met with my friend's sister and offered to make the cake (which had already been taken care of by Kroger) and apologized for the mistake. He stated that Walmart fully supports law enforcement and donated some extra stuff for the retirement party along with a gift card in lieu of the cake.”

Several media outlets attempted to learn whether the Walmart employees were disciplined or terminated but the company had not responded to those requests as of Monday.