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Poker T-shirt maker fights Wal-Mart
Small Kansas company cites censorship as key reason not to sell to world's biggest retailer.
May 18, 2005: 5:06 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A small company that makes poker T-shirts has declared a 'ban' on Wal-Mart.

John Carlton, proprietor of Kansas City's Ace Kicker Tees, said Wednesday that he will not allow Wal-Mart Stores to offer its poker-themed shirts, citing the retailer's history of censorship for his decision.

"It really worries me when big business starts dictating ethics to artists and other creative voices," Carlton said in a statement. "One of our poker shirts has an obscenity on it. And we're simply not willing to sacrifice our First Amendment rights, regardless of what sum of money we stand to make in return."

Because Wal-Mart has over 5,000 retail locations -- 3,600 in the US and 1,570 internationally -- it exerts a significant influence on the distribution of consumer products.

Carlton noted said that while other big retailers were catching on to the sales potential of poker-related goods, Ace Kicker found selling to Wal-Mart disagreeable.

Interest in poker has exploded in recent years, based in part on ESPN's "World Series of Poker" and the growth of Internet-based poker outlets.

Officials at Ace Kicker and Wal-Mart were not available for further comment.

Wal-Mart has had no shortage of clashes over acceptable content. For more, click here.  Top of page

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