KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – A shirt being sold at Walmart is causing controversy among Kinston residents.
Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy posted a photo of the shirt on Facebook saying the shirt found at the Kinston Walmart with the written text “Where the heck is Kinston, North Carolina?” is insulting.
His post reads: “Dear Walmart, if your merchandise’s purpose is to insult your community… congratulations. #TeamKinston”
Mayor Murphy’s post has received many comments, likes and shares. Yet, some people commenting say the shirt could be beneficial for Kinston to help get the word out about the city and all it offers.
“We need some laughs at this day and time,” said Kinston resident Pearli White. “I don’t think it’s meant to be disrespectful. Just funny.”
Kinston resident Judy Martin bought the shirt for her nieces and nephews. She said the shirt was all in good fun.
“They never come to Kinston,”” said Martin. “I always have to go there way. So I thought I’d just let them know where Kinston is.”
But others agree with Murphy’s take on the shirt.
“That is insulting because I’ve never been asked where the heck Kinston is,” said Kinston resident Bruce Matthews. “So why put in on a shirt?”
Kinston resident Diane Williams does not appreciate the shirt.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s coming locally,” said Williams. “It’s coming from people who don’t live in our community.”
She said the shirt is a smack in the face to everything Kinston stands for.
“It’s becoming revitalized now,” said Williams. “It used to be the center of industry here.”
Mayor B.J. Murphy said the shirt’s negative connotation frustrates him.
“It’s not about the shirt as it is about the overall message,” said Murphy.
He said it does not represent the positive changes the city is seeing.
“The citizens of Kinston take a tremendous amount of pride in our community, and the last thing we want is a business profiting off of what appears to be a very negative connotation merchandise,” said Murphy.
According to Wal-Mart, the shirt is only sold at the Kinston Walmart.