The cocaine Santa sweatshirt that landed Walmart in hot water is a best-seller on Amazon, and it reveals a gaping hole in the tech giant's strategy
Searching for "cocaine Santa" yields more than 200 results on Amazon.com.
- Walmart has pulled a controversial sweater from its website. It appeared to show Santa Claus doing cocaine and was available for sale on Walmart's Canadian website earlier this week.
- Clothing with similar and identical designs remains available on Amazon.com. One such sweatshirt is the No. 1 best-seller in the Women's Novelty Sweatshirts category as of Wednesday morning.
- Many of the risqué products ship from and are sold by Amazon.com. Amazon does not create the designs themselves, but takes on responsibility for selling and shipping the products.
- The proliferation of cocaine Santa-themed apparel highlights the challenges Amazon faces as it builds out its marketplace of third-party sellers.
- Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
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Walmart pulled a controversial sweater that appeared to show Santa Claus doing cocaine. But, it remains available on Amazon - and has recently become a best-seller.
This week, Walmart faced backlash after selling a sweater that showed Santa holding a straw in front of three lines of what appears to be cocaine. The sweater also features the words: "Let It Snow."
Walmart Canada apologized for the sweater and pulled it from the site, noting that the sweater and other off-color Santa apparel was not available on the US site.
"These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on Walmart.ca (our website in Canada), do not represent Walmart's values and have no place on our website," a representative told Insider.
However, clothing with identical designs - and others with similar themes - remain available for sale on Amazon. In fact, a shirt with the same design sold as "Cocaine Santa let it snow christmas sweater Sweatshirt" is currently the No. 1 best-seller in the Women's Novelty Sweatshirts category as of Wednesday morning.
Unlike the sweater available on Walmart's Canadian site, the description of the sweatshirt states it "ships from and [is] sold by Amazon.com." In other words, Amazon does not create the designs, but takes on responsibility for selling and shipping the products.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Other Amazon sellers are profiting off of the news cycle centered on the cocaine-Santa apparel. As of Wednesday morning, there were 230 results for the search "cocaine Santa" on Amazon.
On Tuesday, a new seller called "Cocaine Santa Shirt Designs" began selling an entire set of apparel around the concept, with more than 70 options for sale. In addition to shirts that appear to show Santa Claus doing cocaine, the seller also offers cocaine-themed shirts featuring President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell dressed as Santa.
This "Cocaine Mitch" shirt states it "ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
Like the other cocaine Santa shirt, all of the shirts from "Cocaine Santa Shirt Designs" state they ship from and are sold by Amazon.com.
The proliferation of cocaine Santa clothing highlights the problems Amazon faces as it builds out its marketplace of third-party sellers. In April, Amazon announced that these independent sellers account for more sales on Amazon.com than Amazon does itself, bringing in $160 billion in 2018, compared to Amazon's $117 billion.
However, with the reliance on third-party sellers comes a loss of control over quality. In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that it found 4,152 items for sale on Amazon.com that had "been declared unsafe by federal agencies." Earlier in December, Amazon removed ornaments featuring pictures of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz from its site.
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