On the 6-month anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riots, American retailers Sears and Kmart have come under fire for selling a t-shirt on their website that refers to insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as a martyr.
Babbitt was a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot dead by a police officer as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 in an attempt to block the Congress from affirming the outcome of the 2020 election, which they claimed President Joe Biden won fraudulently.
She was shot as she attempted to enter the chamber of House of Representatives through a broken window during the riot, as previously reported. The identity of the officer who pulled the trigger has not yet been released.
Vox reporter Aaron Rupar tweeted the links to the merchandise, tagging both Sears and Kmart in his post. The t-shirt, available on the retailers' websites for $19.99-$21.99, came with a caption that read "Ashli Babbitt American Patriot" with a black and white flag of the United States in the middle.
The description of the t-shirt, which was being sold in different sizes and colors, read, "ASHLI BABBITT, A FOUR TOUR AIR FORCE HERO WAS KILLED DEFENDING LIBERTY. HONOR HER TODAY," in all caps.
The backlash was immediate with many expressing their anger over the retailer's decision to sell a product that supported a rioter who participated in the violent Capitol protests.
"Babbitt was shot once in the shoulder by a Capitol police lieutenant while attempting to crawl through a broken window leading to the Speaker's Lobby outside the US House of Representatives' chamber. She wasn't crawling through glass to sing Kumbaya. Shame on Sears & Kmart," wrote one user.
"Kmart and Sears are selling a t-shirt that says "Ashli Babbitt was a patriot" so it looks like I'll have to continue to never shop there," commented another. Here are some of the other reactions on Twitter:
T-Shirts Pulled from Sears, Kmart
It appears that both retailers were most likely hosting a third-party seller on their website that was marketing the t-shirts on their website. However, Sears later confirmed that the t-shirts were "no longer available for purchase" on Sears as well as Kmart.