Walmart has apologized after making a joke on Twitter about Paul Walker and the collision that led to the Hollywood star’s death. It made the insensitive joke in response to another Twitter user.
Twitter user @iamlaurenmiles posted a story about Walmart selling Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with strawberry and cream-flavored icing.
She then added a gif of a car racing erratically through traffic with the caption “me racin to the nearest Wally World.”
*me racin to the nearest Wally World* pic.twitter.com/JYzQaCzCQ0
— LSM (@iamlaurenmiles) January 14, 2020
Walmart replied to the tweet with, “Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket.” The tweet has since been deleted by the retail corporation, but not before it was widely shared with nearly universal condemnation.
The joke came across as insensitive due to the manner of Walker’s death.
In 2013 Walker was killed when the Porsche he was traveling in collided with a lamppost in Santa Clarita, California. A friend was driving the car, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated at the time that speed was a factor.
Twitter user @dwylie02 spelled it out when they posted: “um paul walker died in a car crash and the gif is someone speeding carelessly. for walmart to make that joke was just…”
In a statement released on Thursday by Walmart’s Corporate Communications Senior Manager Tara Aston, the company apologized to “Paul Walker’s family, friends, and fans.”
She added that the tweet about Walker was “posted in poor judgment,” and said that it “has been removed.”
Some Twitter users defended Walmart, suggesting that the social media employee was referencing the Fast and Furious movies.
Others pointed out that “Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket,” was the exact line uttered by actor Adam DeVine in sitcom Workaholics 7 years before Walker’s death, and the joke was clearly a reference to that.
That's a line from Workaholics but it has not aged well.
— Spiced Seltzer (@dansbadtweets) January 16, 2020
Not that many people watched Workaholics because no one got the reference that Walmart did with the Paul Walker joke
— Mac (@Goatnamedmac) January 17, 2020
The line was indeed used in Workaholics.
Paul Walker starred as Brian O’Connor, alongside Vin Diesel, in the Fast and Furious franchise. He died during the shooting of the seventh installment of the series.