J.C. Penney is in hot water over a brewing controversy. Their billboard along the busy 405 highway near Culver City, California, of a teapot is attracting the attention of motorists, making them pause, reflect, pull over, and snap photos. The teapot, to many, bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain notorious historical figure, Adolph Hitler, with his arm outstretched in a “Heil, Hitler,” gesture.
The billboard that has been attracting so much attention of late advertises a tea kettle designed by Michael Graves.
It’s actually called the “Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle,” but motorists driving by it are saying it calls another image into their minds, altogether.
While it’s true what Sigmund Freud once said, about sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, the teapot on the billboard does have some similarities with a cartoonist’s caricature of Adolph Hitler.
With a black handle that looks like a sleazy comb-over and a spout looks like it’s saluting in a “Heil, Hitler” greeting, J.C. Penney spokespeople have been having a lot of explaining to do lately about the image of the Michael Graves teapot on the billboard.
You could almost say they’re having a “tempest in a Hitler teapot.”
People have been posting photos of the teapot on the billboard on Reddit over the weekend. One person commented “That Hitler looks like a teapot.”
The teapot cause one of the people who commented on the billboard to reflect upon the lyrics of a childhood song, and alter them…slightly: “I’m a little Nazi, short and stout.”
A spokesperson for J.C. Penney tweeted about the controversial teapot on Twitter, saying that any resemblance is:”Definitely unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a puppy tea kettle 🙂
Two tweets lately seen on Twitter referring to the teapot take opposing viewpoints on the Michael Graves teapot.
Jim @scplanetable tweeted: Every time I see that JC Penny billboard with the teapot, I keep seeing Hitler. Seriously, the thing looks exactly like Hitler. 405 S, man.’
Another commuter was not amused at all by the supposed resemblance of the teapot to Hitler. Benari @benarilee tweeted: ‘Uh, no thanks, JC Penny. I don’t think I want your HITLER teapot.’
According to J.C. Penney, any resemblance to Hitler certainly hasn’t hurt business.
The $40 teakettle is advertised as having features like its “cool-touch handle, space-saving design and a delightful whistle.”
In a Tweet to the comedian Patton Oswalt, who asked about obtaining one of the teapots, the company said that it has sold out online.
But, no worries; if you would like to get one of these controversial teapots, they are still available in stores, according to the store.
Written by: Douglas Cobb