If you thought JCPenney was having problems at the top — or if pressure cookers were posing problems for the tea-kettle industry — look no further than 405 freeway near Culver City in Southern California, where an innocent stainless steel pot is drawing comparisons to perhaps the least innocent person of all time, spigot salute and all. Enter your own "calling the kettle Fuhrer" reference here.
The Redditors on this 8,000-plus vote thread are having a field day with this photo:
Yes, the thread makes for some dark chuckles, as casual observers chime in with jokes like "Yours for only nein dollars" and "He even has his right arm extended." And, yes, it's real kitchen equipment! If you go on the JCPenney website, the Hitler-esque kettle is actually known as the Michael Graves Design Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Kettle, retailing for $40. "This stainless steel tea kettle has all the bells and whistles you'll need—a cool-touch handle, space-saving design and a delightful whistle to let you know when it's ready to pour," reads the description. And so far, none of the three customer reviews on the JCPenney site mention a resemblance to the leader of the Nazi party:
We've reached out to JCPenney and Michael Graves for comment, but suffice it to say this thing will go plenty viral. Not that it's exactly a sign for a company that recently fired its Apple-bred CEO, but this is a struggling retail giant that already had to run ads asking for customers back. And here we were thinking that pressure-cooker sales might suffer since they were classified as WMDs in the Boston bombing case and led to so many other freak-outs.
But side-by-side comparisons make it hard not to ignore the similar outlines of both the face...
...and the arm:
Update 2:13 p.m. Eastern: JCP has yet to issue an official statement regarding the Hitler-esque tea kettle, but it did send out this tweet today acknowledging that any resemblance to Hitler is purely coincidental:
The brand sent a version of that snowman tweet out to many journalists, actually, and played along a bit more with some other power users on Twitter:
Further evidence that the best way to play down a viral scandal in the making... is with animals:
@gawker Definitely unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a puppy tea kettle :)— jcpenney (@jcpenney) May 28, 2013
@laist Certainly unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a kitten tea kettle :)— jcpenney (@jcpenney) May 28, 2013
@eonline Definitely unintentional. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a baby panda tea kettle :)— jcpenney (@jcpenney) May 28, 2013
@lana Certainly unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a bunny tea kettle :)— jcpenney (@jcpenney) May 28, 2013