On Tuesday, Twitter user @Iamlaurenmiles shared a story about Walmart selling Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with strawberry and cream-flavored icing. She added a GIF of a car wildly speeding through traffic, writing, "me racin to the nearest Wally World."
In response, Walmart tweeted, "Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket." The company has since deleted the tweet, but not before it was widely re-shared across social media.
The apparent joke was instantly slammed online as insensitive and tone-deaf since "The Fast and the Furious" star died in a car crash in 2013 at age 40.
"um paul walker died in a car crash and the gif is someone speeding carelessly. for walmart to make that joke was just..." @dwylie02 tweeted. User @tkb1886 added, "Paul Walker is an actor from Fast & Furious who actually died in a car accident so their joke seemed pretty inappropriate."
© Walmart A tweet from Walmart’s official Twitter account about Paul Walker has sparked some backlash after the company tweeted, “Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket,” in response to a GIF of an aggressive driver “racin to the nearest Wally World” for a new product.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Walmart acknowledged that the tweet about Walker was "posted in poor judgement," adding that it "has been removed."
"We apologize to Paul Walker’s family, friends and fans," Walmart said Thursday in a statement provided by Corporate Communications Senior Manager Tara Aston.
Walmart appeared to be quoting a 2011 episode of "Workoholics," where actor Adam DeVine used same exact line, but the company didn't provide any context with the tweet.
User @dansbadtweets tweeted: "WalMart referencing a Workaholics line from 2011 (that was from an episode that aired before Paul Walker died) 7 years after Walker died and the line would be in poor taste is just another reason to not encourage the brands."
USA TODAY reached out to reps for Walker and his co-star Vin Diesel for comment.
Walker was a passenger in a friend's car when it crashed in Santa Clarita, Calif. in November 2013, killing Walker and the driver. At the time, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told AP that speed was a factor in the crash.
The California native starred in the "Fast and Furious" movies as Brian O'Conner opposite Diesel. He was killed during the filming of "Furious 7."