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JCPenney’s “Hitler” Tea Kettle

JCPenney’s “Hitler” Tea Kettle

A tea kettle sold by JCPenney which – to some people – resembled Adolph Hitler prompted the retailer to respond that the resemblance was inadvertent. The kettle also reportedly sold out online before being removed from their online catalog.

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The “Hitler” Kettle

The $40 kettle, a Michael Graves Design Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle, was featured on a billboard on the 405 freeway near Culver City, Calfornia. A Reddit post pointed out that the kettle pictured loosely resembled a cartoon version of the Nazi dictator, and the photo went viral.

A day later, the kettle was listed as sold out on the company’s website, and the product was completely removed from the online catalog a day later. The Los Angeles CBS affiliate reported that the billboard has since been removed.

For those who can’t see a resemblance to Hitler in the tea kettle, here is a small diagram to help:

JCPenney Hitler kettle

JCPenney Response

Aside from removing the billboard and the product from the online catalog, JCPenney addressed the controversy by responding to several tweets. Here are some of the responses, all of which are very similar:

  • Totally unintentional – and if we had been strategizing, we probably would have gone with a cute puppy or kitty kettle. 🙂
  • Certainly not intentional. We would have gone with something cute. Think “puppy dog”, not dictator.
  • Certainly unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a bunny tea kettle 🙂
  • Definitely unintentional. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have gone with a baby panda tea kettle 🙂

Bottom Line

In May 2013, a tea kettle was sold online by JCPenney which some thought resembled Adolph Hitler. The kettle quickly sold out and was eventually removed from the online catalog. JCPenney answered questions on social media about the alleged resemblance, noting that it was unintentional.


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