Wal-Mart forced to apologize for racist cross-selling setup

BENTONVILLE, AR: The last thing Wal-Mart needs is a PR crisis. That's what it got when, on January 5, a reporter from the Baltimore area told Wal-Mart that an automated system on Walmart.com that generates film recommendations was linking a Planet of the Apes DVD to films about African Americans, including Martin Luther King.

BENTONVILLE, AR: The last thing Wal-Mart needs is a PR crisis. That's what it got when, on January 5, a reporter from the Baltimore area told Wal-Mart that an automated system on Walmart.com that generates film recommendations was linking a Planet of the Apes DVD to films about African Americans, including Martin Luther King.

Amy Colella, a spokeswoman for Walmart.com, said the retailer then became aware of blogs discussing the issue.

Wal-Mart's initial reaction was to remove movies from the site. Later that day, the company issued a release apologizing for the incident and announcing that it would be shutting down the automated system.

The next day, Wal-Mart issued another release stating that the automated system would be shut down until the company completed an investigation.

"As a result of our review, we have found that the offensive combinations were completely unintentional," read the statement, which included list of the other movies that were linked to the African-American films, including .

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