"It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor," Jane Bockholt said. She refused to reveal the nature of the customer's complaint.
Ann Moliver Ruben, the 70-year-old psychologist who designed the shirt and sold them to the store, said the retailer's response means "that promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country.
A buyer at the company reportedly said that the shirt "goes against Wal-Mart's family values," but it didn't respond to press inquiries other than to confirm a customer complaint about the shirt and their removal from the store in which they were being sold. At the time, the United Kingdom, Israel and Pakistan were among countries to have elected women leaders.
After the story hit the papers, though, the company admitted its mistake.
"We made a mistake," Jay Allen, a Wal-Mart spokesman, told the Associated Press. "In this case, we overreacted."
The shirt appears to pop up on Ebay and Etsy often.
Correction: 1995, not 1985.
Update: Walmart Director of Corporate Communications Danit Marquardt spotted this doing the rounds and sent an email: "Wow, it still pains us that we made this mistake 20 years ago. We're proud of the fact that our country – and our company – has made so much progress in advancing women in the workplace, and in society."