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Wal-Mart Eats Humble Pie After Publishing 'Fat Girl' Halloween Costumes Because plus-sized women aren't 'fat-shamed' enough. Rollback that self-esteem, ladies.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"Dr. Sexy Shots." "Naughty Nurse." "Pirate Wench." "Sultry Officer." No, these aren't juicy porn star stage names. They're plus-sized Wal-Mart Halloween costumes. And not just your garden variety raunchy, sexist costumes du jour. Oh, no. In words of Wal-Mart, they're "Fat Girl Costumes."

Yup, Sam Walton's downhome discount rollback machine actually published a section in its online store this week titled "Fat Girl Costumes." Fat. Girl. Costumes... in case you didn't quite catch that.

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The beyond offensive corporate gaffe -- perhaps an inside joke between a couple prankster website developers at the retail giant -- was as unfortunately as real as this Sexy Ebola Containment Suit, which surprisingly isn't yet available at Wal-Mart. (That little infectious "hazmat couture" gem comes to you courtesy of Brands on Sale, friends.)

Wal-Mart thankfully yanked its blatantly fat-shaming ladies' Halloween costume section after Jezebel, tipped off by a reader, outed the eyesore.

Related: The PR Crisis Playbook

And then came the stodgy, automaton-like corporate semi-apology. On Twitter, of course, where Wal-Mart barely tipped its big toe into its mouth when responding to the initial call-out, an admonishing tweet from Twitter user Krysten Washburn. On second thought, semi-apology is too generous for Wal-Mart's trite response tweet to the copywriter: "Your comments and suggestions are important to us and help make Wal-Mart even better. Thank you."

Wal-Mart also ate a slice of humble pie on People Magazine's website. "This never should have been on our site," a company spokesperson said. "It is unacceptable and we apologize." The representative also said Wal-Mart was working to ensure that a goof up like this "would never happen again."

Related: How to Handle a PR Crisis

Thus a somewhat more politically correct, slightly less self-esteem skewering "Women's Plus Size Halloween Costumes" section is now live on Wal-Mart.com. It showcases many of the same smutty getups that the original "Fat" section paraded.

As Washburn put it, "No girl should have to shop under "Fat Girls Costumes." Not at Wal-Mart. Not anywhere. Not ever.

But, if you're a boy and you're in the market for a "Fat Tinkerbell," bulging faux potbelly and all, Wal-Mart still has you covered. Maybe Wal-Mart has a little PR pixie dust left over to tame that beast, too.

Related: Famous 'Trep Failures -- and Comebacks

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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