Walmart pulled a t-shirt created by a third-party seller from its website Thursday that seemingly called for the lynching of journalists. The removal followed a complaint made by journalist advocacy group Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDA). RTDA requested for the retailer to halt all sales of the shirt because it may "encourage violence targeting journalists."

Walmart was the only major retailer selling the shirt within the United States, which was designed by third-party seller TeespringWalmart's Marketplace program allows sellers to easily apply to have their products featured on the retailer's website. Sellers have the ability to control their inventory as they are given the freedom to "sell just about anything," according to the Marketplace rules.

These guidelines then made it possible for Teespring to initially get away with selling a shirt that read: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required."

"This item was sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace and clearly violates our policy," a Walmart spokesperson said Thursday to International Business Times. "We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention, and are conducting a thorough review of the seller’s assortment."

RTDA's letter argued that the t-shirt was "particularly inflammatory within the context of today's vitriolic political and ideological environment," but it understood that Walmart's First Amendment rights allowed the retailer to feature the product in its Marketplace. 

"As a fierce proponent of the First Amendment that is politically nonpartisan, we recognize Walmart's right to sell the T-Shirts, and the right of consumers to purchase and wear them," RTDA wrote in its complaint letter. "However, just because Walmart has the right to sell the shirts, that doesn't mean it is the right thing to do."

The message on Teespring's t-shirt falls in line with President Donald Trump's view of the media, which he previously claimed is "the enemy of the American People." Trump has even threatened to "challenge their License" after alleging that outlets like NBC continue to promote "fake news."

Journalists are protected by the First Amendment, which Congress passed in 1971 to allow for the media to freely communicate news to the general public. The amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." There are legal limits to this protection, however. 

"The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized very few exceptions to the First Amendment," Robert Richards, founding director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment at Penn State, said in a 2015 news release. "The categories of speech that fall outside of its protection are obscenity, child pornography, defamation, incitement to violence and true threats of violence."

"Even in those categories, there are tests that have to be met in order for the speech to be illegal. Beyond that, we are free to speak," Richards added. 

Walmart Shirt Walmart removed a shirt that appeared to threaten the lives of journalists Thursday after a journalist advocacy group wrote a complaint letter. The "Rope. Tree. Journalist." shirt is pictured on Walmart's website on November 30, 2017.