The Associated Press is reporting that a Maryland couple has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores, which promotes itself as a seller of profanity-free music, accusing it of deceiving customers by stocking compact discs by the rock group EVANESCENCE that contain an obscenity.
The group's latest CD and DVD, "Anywhere But Home", does not carry parental advisory labels alerting potential buyers to the obscenity. If they did, Wal-Mart would not carry them, according to the retailer's policy.
But the lawsuit claimed Wal-Mart knew about the explicit lyrics in the song, "Thoughtless", because it censored the word in a sample available on its Web site and in its stores.
The complaint, which was filed last week in Washington County Circuit Court, seeks an order requiring Wal-Mart to either censor or remove the music from its stores in Maryland. It also seeks damages of up to $74,500 for each of the thousands of people who bought the album at Wal-Mart stores in Maryland.
"I don't want any other families to get this, expecting it to be clean. It needs to be removed from the shelves to prevent other children from hearing it," a plaintiff, Trevin Skeens, of Brownsville, said.
Mr. Skeens said he and his wife, Melanie, let their daughter buy the music for her 13th birthday and were shocked when they played it in their car while driving home.
Wal-Mart, of Bentonville, Ark., has no immediate plans to pull the CDs from its shelves, spokesman Guy Whitcomb told The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown. He said the company would investigate the accusations.
Mr. Whitcomb said that the song sample online was censored by Walmart.com, a separate division of Wal-Mart.