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. Jer Mack

    Let's take your family, starve and brutalize them, gas some of them, do horrifying medical experiments on the others, and then steal their wealth, including their teeth, and see if, afterwards, how culturally sensitive you are to glorifying depictions of those who committed these crimes. Something tells me you would feel differently.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MontanaErik

    They actually tried to say that was a tooth?

    September 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. I can't believe it

    Give me a break. The Jews are seriously in everyone's business. The holocaust was a sad event, but millions of people die during war. You don't hear the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese crying abou0 their death during the past wars to every country in the world. Jews are such hypocrites, they are complaining about this, while they are suppressing the Palestine.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      Dear retard: please show how "Jews" are involved in this story in any way whatsoever.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hans Bromide

      It was an Israeli (and thus Jewish) agency that made the complaint. That said, this comment is a bit off. I will agree that this is silly, but at the same time, the poster reveals that he may have some lingering anti-semetism.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garnet69

      Actually, I am pretty sure Russians wouldn't be real happy if Stalin were used for commercial gain.... nor do I think Vietnamese would be happy if Ho Chi Minh were used.....KKK symbology for African Americans....list goes on and on

      Shock factor is the lowest level of real marketing

      September 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. themoops

    heck is where people who don't believe in gosh go

    September 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gee Whiz

      Ummm.... How dare you use Gosh's name in vain. I'm telling

      September 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Apparently a lot of these comments were made before the update that included the artist admitting the character is inspired by Hitler.

    How many care to retract?

    September 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mavent

    As long as people like you exist, it's hardly and over-reaction on their part. Tell me again why you care about what Taiwan sells in their 7-11s.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Capitalist

    I wonder how much these will fetch for on eBay now.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ff

    Your a retard. jer mack... your a genius. lets do it

    September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hans Bromide

    It is one thing to take offense to people who support intolerant viewpoints, it is another to take offense at any depiction of said viewpoints.
    For example, in the new Castle Wolfenstein video game, the main enemy is no longer Nazis but simply Nazi-like "Wolves." The original versions that had actual Nazis did not support Nazism, but it did depict it. Was the original rascist or anti-semetic? No.
    In France, ex-Nazi firearms are required to have all Nazi imagery ground off. If someone collects original firearms and includes ex-Nazi firearms in their collection, does that mean they support Nazism? No, but France thought it did and they destroyed many historical items in the process.
    Censorship for the sake of censorship is wrong and censorship in general is wrong.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Klaus Flouride

      I just found the manufacturer of these keychains on alibaba.com. Getting a quote, should be able to move them in convenience stores throughout the South as long as we can get them out there in the next couple of weeks.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Benyamin

    No Jews just own your poor white trash a$$

    September 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MulletMan

    It's a good thing Hitler ruined the mustache and not the mullet haircut.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. emma

    i hope i get to go to gosh. or maybe even happy !

    September 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KC

    People whine to much. I'm sure its not because they are offended either. They want recognition or money, probably both. But people keep feeding into the BS and enabling that type of behavior. As I look at the alleged "Hitler" the only thing that bears a resemblance is the mustache.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Laerrus

    I find it tragic Israel considers the Nazis a Dark Age, but not the Soviets/other Communists who have wracked up a body count 100 times that of the Facists..

    September 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Laerrus

    Also funny how his arm band swastika is replaced by a Dollar sign...

    Moar like a a good sign of the times...

    September 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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