Now you see it, now you don’t. A billboard along U.S. 405 in southern California that was intended to sell tea kettles instead created a tempest in a teapot. CBS Los Angeles reports that the tea kettle, known as the “Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle” and part of JCPenney’s Michael Graves-designed kitchenware line, reminded many motorists of Adolf Hitler.
On Tuesday, the sign was removed.
It first made national headlines after it caught the attention of some Reddit users, who noted that the curvature of the handle resembled the hairline of the former Nazi leader. The spout, moreover, called to mind a raised arm and the bell infelicitously poised above the tip of the spout looked like an upraised hand.
I stare at this from my office building every day and now I can tell my co-workers that I’m not the only one who saw the Hitler in the bells and whistles sign!
Others opined that the similarity was intentional. Wrote user LevTolstoy:
Well, look at us — we’re all looking at and sharing a picture of an advertisement. If it was done on purpose to get people’s attention, but keep the ability to deny doing it on purpose, it’s brilliant.
JCPenney isn’t taking any chances. In addition to ordering that the billboard come down, the retailer has taken the added precaution of pulling the product from its stores and catalogs.
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