After a blitzkrieg of bad publicity on Reddit and other Web communities, JC Penney removed a teapot from its online store that many believed resembled Adolf Hitler. A billboard that featured the Michael Graves Design Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle ($40) was also removed, but watch your back, Earl Grey—the controversy could come to a boil again. After all, if you are prone to to recognizing humans in inanimate objects, many other tea kettles currently for sale on Amazon and other retailers resemble Der Führer and some other unsavory world leaders.
Don’t let the elegance of the Martha Stewart brand fool you. This stainless steel kettle clearly sports Hitler’s side-swept hairstyle and signature toothbrush mustache. (Don’t see it? Look at the negative space created by the handle.) And is that really a spout—or a salute?
Oxo makes several teapots that look nothing like Hitler—though they do produce a whisk broom that eerily resembles Stalin—but there’s no mistaking who this Good Grips Classic Tea Kettle evokes. Sure, he looks a little heavier here—but that could just be a disguise.
The Hitler side-part is obvious when it comes to this kettle, but is that a raised eyebrow? Given that the German leader wasn’t exactly known for being jaunty—and it’s made by Chef’s Secret—chances are that it’s a conspiratorial wink.
Okay, admittedly the hairstyle is a little off here—too straight to be Hitler. And the salute does appear to be a friendly wave. So this could be Charlie Chaplin. But you can’t be too careful.
Another potentially complicated Hitler doppelganger. The mustache resemblance is clearly there, but given the portly physique, this kettle could reasonably be mistaken for Oliver Hardy. (Stan Laurel sold separately.)
A collaboration between renowned Seattle artists Mike Leavitt and Charles Krafft (a Holocaust denier who often makes Nazi-themed art), these ceramic teapots are meant to look like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the late Korean leader Kim Jong Il. But at $1800 each, is there really such a resemblance? Maybe if you squint.