Walmart pulls ‘Newfie’ T-shirts

Tara Bradbury
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Company behind the Paddy’s Day design says it meant no offence

The company behind the “Newfie beer removal service” T-shirt that earned Walmart some flak says it didn’t intend to offend anyone, and is working with the department store giant to pull the shirt from store shelves.

Tara Bradbury/The Telegram
A pile of “Newfie beer removal” T-shirts was selling at the Stavanger Drive Walmart location for $10 on Sunday, days after Wal-Mart said it was not selling the shirt at all. Walmart says the shirts have now been pulled from the stores.

“In respect for the feelings of some of our fellow Newfoundlanders who find it offensive, we have, in conjunction with Walmart, decided to remove the T-shirt from all Walmart stores in the province,” Bill Coady of Islandwide Distributors said in an email.

“St. Paddy’s Newfie Beer Removal Service — pints, pitchers, kegs” is printed in white lettering along with an image of a beer stein on the green T-shirt, which is also available at Pipers stores and some Only Deals dollar store locations.

Bob Hallett, a local restaurateur and member of Great Big Sea, posted an image of the T-shirt on Twitter last week, with the caption, “Really, Walmart? We’ve got to get past this shit.”

While some Twitter users saw no problem with the shirts, many agreed with Hallett and contacted Walmart to say the shirt was derogatory and offensive.

“I have spent my career singing, writing and talking about the culture of Newfoundland, and while celebration is a big part of that culture, ‘Newfie Beer Removal’ is an idiotic way to describe it,” Hallett said when contacted by The Telegram. “Like so many other racial slurs, context is everything — if the group in question wishes to use it themselves, that is one thing. For a worldwide corporation to put it on a T-shirt is quite another.”

Walmart’s initial response on Twitter was that its stores weren’t selling the shirts at all. However they were still available for $10 at at least two St. John’s Walmart locations days later.

Walmart spokesman Alex Roberton said the social media response was due to an “internal miscommunication,” as not all stores carried the shirts.

“We can confirm that we carried the T-shirt in question at five of our Newfoundland stores,” said Roberton, senior director of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada. “The shirts were purchased from a local supplier as part of a broader assortment of St. Patrick’s Day items. However, as a result of feedback we have received from our customers, we have discontinued sale of the shirt.”

A spokeswoman for Pipers said the store would be in a position to comment on Wednesday. A call to Only Deals’ head office in Manitoba was not returned as of deadline.

Islandwide Distributors is a locally owned company that produces Newfoundland-themed souvenirs, including T-shirts, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, mugs and cards. The company has been supplying Walmart with souvenirs for about 10 years, and the “Newfie Beer Removal Service” shirt was created based on the requests of local customers, Coady explained.

“The St. Paddy’s Day T-shirt was designed by a Newfoundland artist (who), like the owners of Islandwide, has deep roots and pride being a Newfoundlander,” he wrote. “Islandwide had the T-shirt printed by a local Newfoundland company and Islandwide Distributors, as a vendor for Walmart, decided to put the T-shirts in their stores. We are very pleased that a large retailer like Walmart would support and sell product produced by a local Newfoundland company.”

Based on positive feedback it has received on similar designs in the past, Islandwide wasn’t anticipating any negativity about the “Newfie Beer Removal Service” T-shirt, Coady said.



Organizations: Walmart, Newfie Beer Removal Service, Islandwide Distributors Great Big Sea

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Manitoba

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Joan
    February 24, 2016 - 21:22

    NEWFIE is a derogatory and racial slur placed on Newfoundlanders by Americans during the construction of the bases during the 40's. It is equivalent to the "N" word in the US. IT IS TIME FOR US RISE ABOVE THIS GARBAGE.

  • Labradorian
    February 24, 2016 - 18:24

    I really don't have an issue with Newfie, I heard it used to offend or as a term of endearment . Stupid Newfie is no worst than stupid Newfoundlander and I have been greeted as a Newfie with respect and excitement in other provinces and countries . I have an issue being call a Newfoundlander in this province as someone who grew up on the mainland portion of the province . This is Newfoundland and Labrador so if we are all so worried about being politically correct we are Newfoundland and Labradorians.

  • Mark
    February 24, 2016 - 15:49

    Words can hurt! Does this actually offend people or is the outcry just an attempt to get more hits/retweets on a twitter account?

  • Amy
    February 24, 2016 - 13:59

    This is exactly whats wrong with the world today...everyone is so sensitive and no one can take a joke. It's time to lighten up and smile and laugh. The term Newfie is only offensive when used in an offensive manor. As for Hallett, I have been to MANY GBS shows and they always have some comment about how Newfie's (or Newfoundlander's) love to party and have a drink or many. Get over yourself.

  • Newfoundlander
    February 24, 2016 - 13:27

    You people who think 'newfie' is ok are an embarrassment to yourselves, the province, and Canada.

  • The Original Valleyer
    February 24, 2016 - 12:49

    Isn't this a lovely waste of everyone's time... Somebody riding a tad high on the horse I say. Derogatory you say? Baloney I says!! The word Newfie is only as offensive as you let it be. No different that any other "derogatory" term tossed around. As a Newfie living in an area where Newfies are a rare breed, I wear the moniker with the utmost pride. As a matter of fact, next to being called Dad or Grandpa, Newf or Newfie would be the greatest thing I have ever been called. Take er down a notch b'ys it really ain't dat bad to be called Newfie!!

  • Charles Ryan
    February 24, 2016 - 12:28

    I am originally from NL (Southern Shore) been in Ottawa since 1983, I do not find the term Newfie any way derogatory in fact I find it a term of endearment. My mother a born and bred Newfie always used the term and I can guarantee you she was a proud Newfie ..I will continue to use it whenever I can. A word is not in any way harmful it is the actions that surround the word that causes the problems. I have heard enough slurs about Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans that never used the term Newfie and as well I have heard the term Newfie used by many many people who are among the best people I know. It is time people who complain about words like Newfie get a life

  • lynnAnn Noseworthy
    February 24, 2016 - 12:26

    Whomever said "it's all in the context" was correct. I married a man from Alberta , and he never refers to the word "Newfie" in a derogatory manner. He knew I didn't like it when we first met, so he refrains from using the term, but I know he never meant any harm or 'put down' when he did say it. He now defends our province as his own, and wants nothing but the best for all of us.

  • bill
    February 24, 2016 - 12:02

    Here we go again ,,the laughing stock of the world

    • Jaz
      February 24, 2016 - 12:27

      You are so NOT the laughingstock of the world. But the Newfoundland Inferiority Complex gets to be real tiresome.

    • Stephen  Redgrave
      Stephen Redgrave
      February 24, 2016 - 12:33

      You could not be more wrong Bill. Newfoundland is viewed upon by the rest of Canada as the last bastion of what used to be a free and democratic society. Canada, the way it used to be, the way us old timers remember how it was in Ontario, and Alberta 50 years ago. Watching Newfoundland catch up with the rest of Canada is both good, and a little bit sad. Change is the only guarantee in life along with the usual, death and taxes.

  • Proud Newfoundlander
    February 24, 2016 - 11:37

    At least it's not as offensive as the win-your-stamps promotion which Labatt's put off the the 1980s.

  • santo
    February 24, 2016 - 11:22

    I was called a "stupid Newfie" once while doing my job, which required me to make a call to Western Canada. I was offended, of course. But my level of being offended wouldn't have been lessened had he said "stupid Newfoundlander and Labradorian" our official name, or even "stupid Newfoundlander" . I don't mind being called a Newfie, not fond of Newf, but I don't get offended. We also get offended when Newfoundland is mispronounced! It's all in context. Someone could say "oh, you're a Newfie" with excitement and a smile...or "oh, you're a Newfie", in a sigh and an eye roll. But remember, either phrase would mean the same, if Newfoundlander was said instead.

  • gtj1973
    February 24, 2016 - 10:59

    Hallett has been making money for years from packaging Newfoundland culture for the masses, Newfie speech & dialect included. More B.S. whining from people looking to find offense wherever they can; this time, though, the source is hilariously ironic.

  • DB
    February 24, 2016 - 09:30

    Sensitive much!!! People, get over yourselves! I saw the shirt and saw nothing offensive. It was not meant to be offensive and there was nothing depicting Newfoundlanders in a negative light. Nothing about stupid or lazy Newfie. Someone got sookie and got their panties in a bunch. If the shirt had said something offensive, I'd be all over it, but it didn't. Now I wish I'd bought one. Signed Proud Newie

  • High Horse
    February 24, 2016 - 09:27

    As a Newfie living away, I would love to see this kind of shirt for sale. It is meant to be fun. Which it is. Would there be as much conflict if it had to say "Irish beer removal"? I think not. People need to get off their high horses and take their heads out of their a$$. Everything seems to offend someone lately. Why don't we all just sit in our houses and do nothing at all. If you don't like something, no one says you have to buy it or do it. But for gods sakes, butt out and leave the rest of us to do as we please.

  • Scotty
    February 24, 2016 - 09:21

    I am a Newfoundlander or Newf, not a newfie, why do we let ourselves be called a racial slur. Be proud of who we are, why is anyone okay with being the brunt of a racial slur. "Newfie" is a term used by cfa's as a way to mock us all! Don't speak for those deeply offended by such a term. I am a very proud Newf, born and raised here and would never leave. Would fight to defend our honor. Don't lower yourselves to be a Newfie, we are all so much better than that.

    • Wanda White
      February 24, 2016 - 10:45

      Scotty, maybe you and the other offended people need to WAKE UP and realize that there was a time other people were offended by aboriginal ways and herded them off to 'residential schools' where for a lot of these people, it was a loss of many of their cultural ways. Perhaps its time the rest of us stand up and say, "No way my son, am I gonna let you er anyone else tell me how tr speak proper, wear only wha ye sez I should. If yous is boddered be dat, fer Gawds sake, keep ya nose outta MY bisness! Like Roy Payne sang. Why if we had YOUR WAYS, we'd be no different than the MAINLANDERS! I, FOR ONE AM DAMNED PROUD OF MY NEWFIE SPEECH, MY FUNNY TEE SHIRTS, ME FISH N BREWIS,aAND EVERYTHING ELSE THAT MAKES ME...A NEWFIE!!!!

    • Ken Collis
      February 24, 2016 - 11:50

      Newfoundlander is a race now???

    • steve
      February 25, 2016 - 08:12

      Ah the perpetually angry crowd is at it again.But to somehow connect residential schools to a t.shirt? Your arms must be shot from that stretch.

  • Wallace
    February 24, 2016 - 09:00

    Great Big Sea had no problem playing concerts sponsored by beer companies. Time to grow some thicker skin people.

  • Newfoundlander
    February 24, 2016 - 08:59

    Wal-Mart did the right thing. It's about time we took a stand regarding the verbal abuse attacks toward Newfoundlanders for so long, and show some dignity.

  • BM4
    February 24, 2016 - 08:48

    There is nothing wrong with the word newfie, get over it people

  • Rhonda
    February 24, 2016 - 08:44

    Some people have to whine about anything and everything.

  • jimX
    February 24, 2016 - 08:39

    I won't be spending anymore money to Walmart. All Newfoundlanders should follow suit and boycott their stores. Too bad Target pulled out. That said, Newfoundlanders are their own worst enemy when it comes to the word Newf(i). Many fit the description and encourage it by virtue of their behavior, especially their behavior in the presence of those from away. I witness it on a regular basis when travelling outside the Province on business and within the Province. Then again, every population has the equivalent of Newfis; for example, Alberta has Rednecks and in the USA they are known as Rednecks and/or Hillbillies. Oklahoma odd balls are referred to as Okies. But, make no mistake about it there is a huge difference between a Newfoundlander and a Newf. The difference lies in the comparison between the above examples and it's all about the educated compared to the uneducated.

    • The real Calvin
      February 24, 2016 - 09:42

      What a complete pile of bull Jim. You aren't going to stop shopping at Walmart, give me a friggin break. If Walmart don't got it, you don't need it. Are you also going to boycott every craft shop/souvenir shop on the island? Cause they all carry some form of the newfie "brand" in their stores. Educated vs uneducated hey? I was at Shamrock City one night with some friends from Ontario, and another NL'er ended up sitting down to have a chat with one of the girls. After a few minutes one of the girls said to him, "You don't sound like a Newfoundlander." To which he replied, "Thanks, I try not to." I chose that moment to turn the baywop accent up a notch, and asked him why he thinks he is better than me because of the way I talk. He replied with, "you sound like uneducated white trash." He was a scaffolder who got rich on Alberta oil, and I work for an engineering firm at home. So what about being educated or uneducated makes a difference? I think the word you meant was intelligent, but I can understand after reading your ignorant tirade how you failed to make that comparison. If you are our representative to the rest of the world I'd rather be called a stupid newfie, thanks.

  • Don
    February 24, 2016 - 08:09

    Funny if someone said how are you newf i wouldnt mind but how are you newfie i would. Must be the goofy connotation.

  • SkepticalNewfoundlander
    February 24, 2016 - 07:26

    Banning the word isn't going to make it go away. This campaign is only taking it away from people who would use it in a kind way. And turning it back into ammunition for those who use it hatefully.

  • carogers
    February 24, 2016 - 07:20

    Did not mean to offend???? What time warp have you been in? The word "Newfie" is a slur it is shortened from the original phrase of "stupid newfie" so you apparently know nothing about how Newfoundland and Labradorians were treated outside the province over the years. And still today with the attitude of the hard drinking stupid "Newfie" any job they did not want to do or was too dirty to bother with they called in the Newfie because he was have stund anyway. Really shows your lack of due diligence when developing this product. Try printing a "stupid Irshman" T-shirt???????????? Not likely.

    • Stephen  Redgrave
      Stephen Redgrave
      February 24, 2016 - 14:43

      Well "carogers"--perhaps you are one of the "stupid Newfoundlanders". If your letter is any indication--you are. STOP being so damn paranoid and feeling sorry because you were born here--you only made matters worse. Our reputation as being people who don't understand is being enhanced by you and your piers who think the same. You are insecure in your Newfiedom--don't be.

  • Newfie
    February 24, 2016 - 06:31

    Does Bob Hallett have anything else to do with his time? If he's not sooking about the taxes he's sooking about a T-shirt...lard tundering

    • Jack
      February 24, 2016 - 08:46

      Walmart are just as guilty for caving into one person's opinion and remove a product just because it contains a word "Newfie". If you visit many Newfoundland themed gift shops throughout this province, you'll find many products containing the word "Newfie", but you don't see people complaining about it there. As for Walmart, have some common sense and allow products containing the word, "Newfie", to be sold in your stores.

    • Jackie Barrett - Nova Scotian Newfoundlander
      February 24, 2016 - 08:55

      In my opinion, Bill Coady, Islandwide Distributors, and Walmart are just as guilty for getting “Newfie beer removal service” products removed because one person has too much time in his/her hands want to ruin it for everybody else. Ever since I moved to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia nearly eight years ago, anytime I visit Newfoundland theme souvenir shops, I see many products use the word "Newfie", but do you see customers complaining about that? Absolutely not, so what makes Walmart any different? On some radio stations across Canada, anytime they have Newfoundland music shows, announcers use the word "Newfie", but you don't hear people complain about that, don't they? With stores like Walmart pulling products out of their shelves over foolishness, unless they contain really stereotypical or offensive words and images on it, every single one of us have to learn to "Lighten Up" a little bit.

    • Cher
      February 24, 2016 - 09:55

      I agree....too stupid for words....I was in Cuba a few weeks ago and when someone asked where I was from I said Newfoundland and they said "you are a Newfie" he was so excited as he heard how friendly we all are and he wanted to have dinner with us....then he seemed anxious...I asked what was wrong and he asked if he insulted me by saying the word Newfie....I said of course not...I felt bad for him! Some people need something to wine and complain about I suppose. Rolling eyes...

  • Political Watcher
    February 24, 2016 - 06:00

    This is too silly to even talk about; a few political correct people get their noses out of joint and now a local company has to suck up a loss. Bob Hallet seems to have become the "citizens voice" as of late, wonder what would happen if people boycotted his bar over something that can be considered offensive by a few? You know what I find offensive? "Whatta ya at? Hows she going bys whatta ya at today"? I am sick of meeting people from elsewhere and them greeting me like this and asking if this is how we all talk!

  • ethel
    February 24, 2016 - 05:20

    Talk about offensive-travel on the Marine Atlantic their gift shop..lots of items depicting Newfoundlanders as idiots.Why when there are so many quality crafts available???Its disgusting.

  • Paul
    February 24, 2016 - 05:15

    there are other t-shirts just as offensive, sold in shops in St. John's, but htey just don't have the word Newfie on them...for example Newfoundland Drinking Team...t-shirts in the is it the word Newfie, or the stereotyping about heavy drinking that is so offensive. I'm guessing its the word.