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Jeffrey Dean Morgan is shocked and stunned by The Walking Dead T-shirt controversy — shocked and stunned, that is, that anybody would find the shirt controversial in the first place.
To recap: U.K. department chain Primark pulled a Walking Dead T-shirt (image below) from its stores after a customer complained the clothing item is “racist” and “offensive.” The shirt featured Negan’s signature Lucille baseball bat and his victim-selecting rhyme, “Eeny meeny miny moe, catch a tiger by the toe…” The problem? About 100 years ago, that rhyme commonly used the N-word instead of “tiger.”
Morgan, sounding not entirely unlike his irate profane character on TV’s top-rated drama, tweeted:
The Primark customer who complained about the shirt told The Sheffield Star, “This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America … 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.” While Primark replied it was pulling the shirt from store shelves and issued a statement: “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.”
As pointed out previously, the strange thing about this controversy is its timing. The finale aired last April and the rhyme skittered by without making a blip on the collective outrage meter. The dialogue was also in Robert Kirkman’s comic years before that. Dave Chappelle even parodied the scene when guest hosting Saturday Night Live (though used a different rhyme). But now, 10 months later, with a random customer spying a T-shirt in Sheffield, suddenly this is a thing.
AMC had no comment.