In Taiwan, 7-Eleven stores have pulled products featuring a cartoon vampire that bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler after receiving complaints from the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) for selling the items, according to several media reports.
The convenience store chain, whose 4,400 Taiwanese locations are owned by the President Chain Store Corp., has suspended sales of the key chains, USB drives and magnets sporting the apparent caricature of the Nazi dictator. Company officials originally denied that the cartoon was meant to depict Hitler, first calling the black square on the figureâ€™s face a tooth, then a nose, rather than a mustache. But on Wednesday, the company acknowledged that many saw the image as offensive and said that it did not intend to be insensitive by selling the items.
â€śBecause there are people with doubts, we've stopped selling the products for now,â€ť a representative from 7-Eleven told the German Press Agency, according to an Israeli newspaper.
The ISECO, which is Israelâ€™s de facto embassy to Taiwan, since China does not allow its diplomatic allies to have official ties with the island, says that while it does not think the products were meant to be a show of support for anti-Semitic ideology, the cartoon figure does signify a lack of understanding of the Nazi partyâ€™s history.
â€śWe were appalled to see the Hitler lookalike image being used, again, as a marketing aid and sold in Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores,â€ť ISECO representative Simona Halperin said in a statement Tuesday. â€śI find it tragic that once again people down the chain of marketing and promotion fail to recognize the meaning of the Dark Age in human history that the Nazi dictator represents.â€ť
Taiwan has a history of Nazi imagery popping up in public as a result of commercial use.
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In 1999, a local company used an image of Hitler to advertise space heaters made in Germany. Additionally, in 2000, a restaurant in Taipei called The Jail displayed images of Nazi concentration camps, while a bar in Taipei operated under the name â€śNazi Barâ€ť during the 1990s. Both businesses later removed the references.
The nationâ€™s fascination with Nazi lore could stem from the fact that the party has become a symbol of courage because of poor education, which explains why an association created to explore Hitlerâ€™s achievements was able to garner interest from 1,000 people in 2005.
â€śTheyâ€™re not anti-Semitic, just ignorant,â€ť Lin Chong-pin, a professor of strategic studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, told the Christian Science Monitor after a photo surfaced on the Ministry of National Defenseâ€™s website of three students wearing Nazi uniforms at a military summer camp. â€śThey think the Nazi uniforms look spirited, that the high hat looks very heroic,â€ť he said. â€śReading and understanding of history is very poor.â€ť
Products featuring the cartoon figure, which was designed by blogger Mark Lee, are sold in other Taiwanese stores as well, according to 7-Eleven. Lee says that while the figureâ€™s appearance was inspired by Hitler, the cartoon was not meant to endorse any of Hitlerâ€™s views. In addition to depicting the dictatorâ€™s famous mustache, the caricature also wears a red armband and, in one version, has its arm raised in the fashion of the iconic Nazi salute.
â€śI had hoped to use it to satirize some bosses,â€ť Lee told Agence France-Presse. â€śIn the eyes of disgruntled employees, many bosses are greedy and dictatorial and like vampires trying to suck money from them.â€ť
Representatives for 7-Eleven declined to disclose how many of Leeâ€™s products were purchased during their short run on the storeâ€™s shelves. The items went on sale Sunday and sold for $15 each, according to the San Diego Jewish World.
Really? So any white character with a mustache like that is immediatly "Hitler"? Give me a break!
I guess the ISECO hasn'tt ever heard the childrens story "The Boy Who Called Wolf". Pretty soon people aren't going to care what you have to say at all, if they don't already. What if it was a character that resembled Pol Pot or Stalin? Yeah, that's what I thought....nothing. Sheesh.
Ya.. kind of like a whining little pasty like yourself...
Oh yeah, it doesn't look like Hitler at all!!! Look at the "I'm Mark" (the artist who created the images) website:
That mustache ruined it for everybody
@ anon. Hate much?
Anon, why is it that rejects like yourself believe the only people who are offended or disturbed by nazi or holocaust imagery are the decendants of those killed during this time?
Normal people, who weren't taught to hate by our parents actually care and are sensitive to the plights of others... even *gasp* if they are of different races and religions.
Not really sure it looked enough like Hitler to make a stink about. The mustache seemed to be the defining factor, despite the fact that no other part of it looked anything like him. that mustache is cool looking and it sucks that he somehow ruined it for everyone. People forget that that look was very popular back in the day. Charlie Chaplin was very famous for it. Sucks that some people still can't get over that one single feature.
Josh, I would say the red arm band with the white circle (with a black dollar sign instead of a swastika) pretty much says it all.
Charlie Chaplin's depicting Hitler was satire and was meant to belittle nazism and Hitler.
and this caricature of a balding "Hitler" trying to read something that is clearly upside down is not satire?
So true! Thanks for stating the obvious.
Now these items are worth 10 times as much.
I understand, I didn't want to buy one... but now I think I will get one of these.
...another product of a white trash daddy,
teaching his spawn everything he learned before dropping out of high school.
By your logic, Blacks, Asians, and gays control the world, because every time someone makes a slightly offensive remark they get jumped on and forced to apologize and retract, even if they meant something completely different. It's not Jews, skippy, it's out of control PC.
Striking resemblance to Hitler? Really – I did't know Hitler was Asian!?! – Oh wait the Charlie Chaplin mustache? – Right these bore striking resemblance to Charli Chaplin – that's why they were pulled off the shelves. Seriously, what's wrong with these people? Clearly, some sensibilities are lost on Taiwan, but in this case I think Israelis should spend the energy on peace talks not on some unimportant and frankly ridiculous issues.
Its charlie chaplin!
So when the cartoonist who drew Muhammad got threatened, does that mean Muslims control the world?
I understand what happened in WWII and I hate any type of hate, but come on folks, this was a cartoon character vampire who happens to have a mustache the resembles the infamous mustache. Oh please get a life. As humans we were supposed to learn from the past, but not always dwell on it. Let's move on....