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A JCPenney billboard featuring a teapot allegedly resembling Hitler became a viral sensation over the weekend, prompting the company to remove the billboard in question. A local LA-based ABC news station reported that the billboard near Culver City, California, had been taken down as of yesterday.
Penney's also reassured customers that any resemblance to the most reviled figure in recent human history was purely accidental, tweeting that the coincidence was "certainly unintended," and adding that, "If we'd designed a teapot to look like something, we would have gone w/a snowman :)"
(It should be noted here that that this response shows a remarkable sense of humor on the part of what is, after a tumultuous year, surely a severely beleaguered JCP publicity department.)
Culver City mayor Jeffrey Cooper remains unimpressed, however. "I am disappointed JCPenney actually put the billboard up in the first place and more outraged that they actually attempted to defend it," he said in an email to Mother Jones. "As a Jew, I am offended, [and] as an elected official, I am mad that the city I represent is linked to this."
Michael Graves, the celebrated designer who created the tea kettle, did not respond to Mother Jones' request for comment. In his defense, however, a Google search for "Michael Graves teapots" seems to indicate that he has spent the majority of his long career designing objects that do not resemble Hitler.
Meanwhile, all this publicity appears to have actually inspired shoppers to purchase the teapot in question. JCP confirmed via Twitter that it has sold out online.
· Anti-Defamation League, Mayor of Culver City Respond to JCPenney's Hitler Teakettle Billboard [Mother Jones]
· Watch: JCPenney's Awkward Apology Ad [Racked]
· Meet the JCPenney Tea Pot That Looks Just Like Hitler [Racked]