Walmart has removed a recycling-themed shirt from sale after a viral Twitter post pointed out a vulgar acronym hidden within the design.
The shirt featured large lettering reading “RE” on the left, with the words “cycle,” “use,” “new” and “think” written in smaller lettering on the right. The intended takeaway, apparently, was for onlookers to interpret the message as four distinct words: “recycle,” “reuse,” “renew” and “rethink.”
But the lettering on the right side of the shirt, when read vertically, spelled out an inappropriate four-letter word.
“I need this shirt before Walmart realizes what they have done,” wrote the Twitter user in a now-viral post containing an image of the shirt. “Find the hidden word.”
That viral tweet, first shared last week, has 2.6 million views as of Tuesday.
Walmart has since confirmed the shirt was removed from sale after the issue was brought to the company’s attention.
“The shirt was only sold at Walmart Canada locations and has been removed from stores,” a representative for Walmart shared to Nexstar in a statement on behalf of the company.
The viral image of the shirt, too, indicated that it was sold under the George fashion brand, which had been owned by Walmart via Asda, a wholly owned U.K. subsidiary. Walmart sold its majority stake in Asda in 2021, but retained “an equity investment in the business,” per a 2021 press release.
Walmart’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for further information on the shirt or the George brand, nor whether the company knew if the acronym was coincidental or intentional. A company representative who spoke with Newsweek, however, claimed the wording was unintentional.
The shirt, meanwhile, now appears to be more popular than ever. In recent days, copycat designs have popped up in online shops, including one that became the No. 1 new release in novelty women’s shirts on Amazon as of Tuesday morning. Several other fan-made versions are currently selling at numerous print-on-demand sites, according to Google search.
Commenters on the original Twitter post, too, appeared more amused than offended.
“I need this T-shirt,” one simply said, echoing a sentiment shared by dozens of others.
“There’s a shirt designer that is shocked they got this all the way through production and is really enjoying life as a king or queen,” another joked.