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JC Penney "Hitler" Tea Kettle Causes Social Media Uproar

The retailer is in hot water after a Reddit user posted a photo of a kettle that supposedly resembles Adolf Hitler. JC Penney has responded by frantically apologizing on Twitter.

JC Penney has been trying to catch a break ever since it voted out former CEO Ron Johnson in April. The retailer has since attempted to lure back customers through new advertising initiatives like this one from several weeks ago that begged disgruntled customers to come back.

Unfortunately, the retailer encountered another stumble on its road to recovery when a Redditor recently discovered one of JC Penney's billboards in Culver City, California, featuring a tea kettle with a lid, asymmetrical handle, and saluting spout that made it look strangely like Adolf Hitler.

When the image went viral, JC Penney tried to contain the damage by frantically tweeting the same response at people drawing attention to the tea kettle.

Regardless of whether you chalk the debacle up as a PR win or loss, the kettle has certainly been a success online. We'll let this tweet speak for itself:

UPDATE: The original billboard featured on Reddit that was advertising the controversial tea kettle has reportedly been stripped bare. The kettle has also been removed from the JC Penney website, but that hasn't stopped people from getting it: one was sold on eBay for $199.99, up from its original price of $40.

In an email exchange with Mother Jones, the mayor of Culver City, Jeff Cooper, said he was disappointed JC Penney didn't notice the uncanny resemblance earlier. "I am disappointed JCPenney actually put the billboard up in the first place and more outraged that they actually attempted to defend it," he wrote. "As a Jew, I am offended, [and] as an elected official, I am mad that the city I represent is linked to this."

[Jessica Hullinger contributed to this post]

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  • ChefJzy

    Would anyone have complained if it was Jesus on a teakettle?  I'll go ask my Jesus tortilla. 

  • bbrownrigg

    More like Oliver Hardy.  But people just looove being offended, so they're going to see Hitler.   So, so tired of the injured, "poor me" mentality.  Thicker skin, people!

  • Unreal

    Personally, It resembles the Statue of Liberty more that the photo of Hitler...

  • Sean Foley

    I hope that the remainder of the sensible Jewish community distances themselves from the stupidity that Mayor Jeff Cooper has jumped into with both feet.  Does he boycott anything related to Charlie Chaplin, who was far closer in resemblance to Hitler that this teapot will ever be?  Does he wring his hands over shoe shine brushes looking a little too much like a certain mustache?  Is this really the state of your elected officials, Culver City?

  • Thebalancetyche

    This reminds me of the McDonalds phallic dragon toy from years back.
    When creating products, companies really do need to pay extra attention to what it will look like in all lights and circumstances, or all your efforts will be wasted.

  • Kevin Lawrence

    It's a kettle for crying out loud!  Seems to me there are people actively looking for issues everywhere and if they can't find one, they'll create one - get some therapy.  They'll be castigating God next (if there is one), for making the images we see in the clouds as they float overhead!  Yesterday I saw a rabbit (sorry to whoever is offended by rabbits), a harpooned whale (Sorry Greenpeace) and a teapot (Sorry Mad Hatter)!

  • Kahuna

    That is the most promotion JCP has had in a year.. I want two... zieg heil das auto

  • John Smith

    People get a grip its a kettle, it is not going to raise a army and invade Europe. People do find things offensive too much these days, like life is not hard enough sometimes as it is without taking offense at everything if that was the case Britain ( I refuse to say great we are not anymore) would offend me with its PC shit more than it does. Rant over i think the likeness is funny

  • mary poppins

    great piece of marketing. now everyone is talking about it. intended or not. 

  • Tarin Griswold

    It just shows how hypersensitive our culture has become, when people go out of
    their way to find or invent something to be outraged over. If we are going to
    apply mind-bending exercises and mental contortions to every single add or
    product that comes out... well, there won't be any time left in the day for
    anything else. STOP EVERYTHING, hurry up, Al Sharpton and his entourage are
    holding a press conference, I see images of Nazis in the Cheerios...
    what a minute, I can see Stalin in the Espresso! The possibilities are endless.
    Seriously? Someone needs to get a life.

  • Ilya Sakharov

    An amazing marketing company! I am sure those kettles are already out of stock! 

  • MisterCliff

    You're kidding, right?! Anyone that can see Hitler in that kettle needs their eyes examined!

  • Sabrina-kara

    I really dont understand whats the big deal about this! Its a Tea Kettle people, not a second world war!

  • Crispymoore

    This article made me dumber. Hitler? Seriously? If you put that tea kettle photo next to the photo of a dog, it would look like a cute puppy. The mayor of Culver City should consider dawning a dunce cap. I take offence to his ill conceived offence.

  • Nooman Rizvi

    well I am sure that it was un-intentional by J-Penny, its just a design , people think too much these days , and if they think to such extent then they should have thought of having tea in it "BY BURNING IT UP ON FIRE" well we can not bring hell to him but we can bring an oven to it. from Nooman Rizvi

  • average joe

    Oh yea, get upset at JC Penny, nice venting of your energy, totally unrelated to Hitler. The real issue is why so many who are angry with the tea kettle and not angry that 20+ Palestinian children died in an air assault not too long ago. Or the hundreds of thousands of innocent unamend Iraqi civilians who were massacred? Why do we get angry with a teakettle while the real issues are alive around us? Such a distraction, so insane and convoluted.