7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items
These items were pulled from 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan after complaints about their resemblance to Adolf Hitler.
September 28th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items

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 figure’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.

“Because there are people with doubts, we've stopped selling the products for now,” a representative from 7-Eleven told the German Press Agency, according to an Israeli newspaper.

The ISECO, which is Israel’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 party’s history.

“We were appalled to see the Hitler lookalike image being used, again, as a marketing aid and sold in Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores,” ISECO representative Simona Halperin said in a statement Tuesday. “I 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.”

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 “Nazi Bar” during the 1990s. Both businesses later removed the references.

The nation’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 Hitler’s achievements was able to garner interest from 1,000 people in 2005.

“They’re not anti-Semitic, just ignorant,” 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 Defense’s website of three students wearing Nazi uniforms at a military summer camp. “They think the Nazi uniforms look spirited, that the high hat looks very heroic,” he said. “Reading and understanding of history is very poor.”

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 figure’s appearance was inspired by Hitler, the cartoon was not meant to endorse any of Hitler’s views. In addition to depicting the dictator’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.

“I had hoped to use it to satirize some bosses,” Lee told Agence France-Presse. “In the eyes of disgruntled employees, many bosses are greedy and dictatorial and like vampires trying to suck money from them.”

Representatives for 7-Eleven declined to disclose how many of Lee’s products were purchased during their short run on the store’s shelves. The items went on sale Sunday and sold for $15 each, according to the San Diego Jewish World.

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Filed under: Adolf Hitler • Taiwan
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. Judegeol

    Really? So any white character with a mustache like that is immediatly "Hitler"? Give me a break!

    September 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimbo

    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.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pointless1

    Ya.. kind of like a whining little pasty like yourself...

    September 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Emmersome Bigguns


    September 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. smq278

    Oh yeah, it doesn't look like Hitler at all!!! Look at the "I'm Mark" (the artist who created the images) website:


    September 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry David

    That mustache ruined it for everybody

    September 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      @ anon. Hate much?

      September 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davethecanuck

      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.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Josh

    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.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garnet69

      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.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • UFC iTard

      and this caricature of a balding "Hitler" trying to read something that is clearly upside down is not satire?

      September 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    So true! Thanks for stating the obvious.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MM

    Now these items are worth 10 times as much.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie C

      I understand, I didn't want to buy one... but now I think I will get one of these.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Davethecanuck

    ...another product of a white trash daddy,
    teaching his spawn everything he learned before dropping out of high school.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    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.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Warhawk

    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.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. d

    Its charlie chaplin!

    September 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anon is a Muslim

    So when the cartoonist who drew Muhammad got threatened, does that mean Muslims control the world?

    September 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Victor

    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....

    September 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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