"Just was at Walmart in Wallingford CT, 844 north colony," Brown tweetedon Saturday night. "The[y] didn't even have my album in the back ... not on shelves, saw for myself." Brown said he talked to the store's managers and "they didn't even know anything. Wow!!! But they had Alicia Keys album ready for release for this Tuesday comin ... the manager told me that when there are new releases it's mandatory to put em on the shelves ... BUT NO SIGN OF #GRAFFITI. BS."
However, Gerald Blodgett, a sales associate in the electronics department at the Wallingford Walmart, told a slightly different story. "We're sold out of it," Blodgett told MTV News, adding that he shook Brown's hand and chatted with the singer when Brown visited the store around midnight on Saturday. "We did have it in stock, but we sold out completely as soon as it hit the shelves."
Walmart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien echoed Blodgett's response in a statement: "We are surprised at the comments online. All Walmart stores nationwide have carried the CD since its release, including the Wallingford store mentioned in the post. This store actually sold through its initial shipment over the weekend. The majority of our stores today are showing they do have copies available."
A new Twitter group, #graffitionracks, has popped up, through which fans are tracking whether the album is in their local stores, taking pictures of it on shelves, encouraging people to buy it, and, in some cases, posting domestic-violence statistics.
Graffiti is Brown's first release since he pleaded guilty to felony assault in June in connection with his February attack on former girlfriend Rihanna, and it is reportedly on track to debut just outside the top three on next week's Billboard albums chart.
"I'm tired of this s---," Brown tweeted on Friday. "Major stores are blackballing my CD. Not stockin the shelves and lying to customers. What the f--- do I gotta do..." Brown later said he would not be retracting the comments after they quickly spread online, adding, "I'm not biting my tongue about s--- else ... the industry can kiss my ass." He also lashed out at "people who r constantly tweeting me wit bulls---," but did quickly apologize to his young fans for "all the cursing."
Representatives for Brown and his label, Jive Records, were not available or had not responded to MTV News' requests for comment at press time.
Brown also retweeted some comments from fans who said they were encouraging fellow supporters to buy Graffiti, including one that reported that "over 100 stores n da country have sold out" of the album. "Let's clear da shelves," the fan wrote.
Another claimed that her friend went to a store asking for the disc and was told it was kept in the back, but then a manager said they had no copies of it. Another claimed that a friend said his manager left copies of Graffiti off the shelves because "he doesn't support woman beaters."
In one retweet, a supporter said that when they went to get the CD, "the racks were empty when I asked when they would restock, the guy said never."