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.

Outrage about Thai school's Nazi parade

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. Diego


    September 29, 2011 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. tutuvabene

    Pardon me, but Hitler did not have slit eyes and/or a bald palate. So, anytime a picture has a hairbrush mustache, it's considered offensive?

    September 29, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • David Ashekenen

      Sir, even the artist Mark Lee, admits he modelled the angry boss doll after Hitler, moutache, armband and nazi salute and combover hair...he is NOT bald, he has a combover like David Gergen and Hitler too. The doll is not offensive, but for the 711 stores to sell such merchandise without being AWARE of what they were doing was wrong and they admit it now. Hitler is fair game for cartoonists and parodies sure, and this WAS a parody. But a bit tastelless for some expats in Taiwan, especially those are the German embassy and the Israeli embassy. But truth be told, NOT ONE PERSON in Taiwan, Taiwnese people that is, paid any attnetion to this and did not care if it was sold or not. This was just an issue among SOME expats, not all, who want Taiwan to act more like an international country and not some banana republic backwater.....

      September 29, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice

      Its just a small magnet sold in the shop in Taiwan. We have NAZI PARTY in the US!! Are we Aware what we are doing is wrong? Exam yourself before your finger point other's nose!!

      September 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie C

      @ David Ashekenen,
      International country? You are funny. Go ask your government if Taiwan is a country at all...
      And we didn't ask you guys to NOT sell anything related to Mao, or hanging the China flag.
      WHY? because we CAN't, not because we don't want to!
      It's a power game. Let's face it!
      It's a bullying game. Because you have the power, you get to tell us what to do.
      Now you are saying that Taiwan has to take the responsibility of an international country, but obviously, we don't have the RIGHTs of a country. Where is the justice?
      So, STOP pretending as if you are telling people the RIGHT thing, Mr. Ashekenen.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Annie C

      @David Ashekenen,
      "even the artist Mark Lee, admits he modelled the angry boss doll after Hitler" REALLY?
      You know why you believe so? because you don't read Chinese.
      And when some people translate...they put in their own opinion.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. sophi

    i don't think it's look-alike him at all. he's just a character who is a strict boss from a comic in Taiwan

    September 29, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • David Ashekenen

      Sophia, even Mark Lee the artist who made the doll ADMITS he modelled the doll after Hitler. read the news.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielkero

      I'm just replying to the David Ashekenen's comments.
      Mr. Lee did not in any way admit he modeled the BOSS figure from HITLER.
      Go on his fans page and you can find that he mentioned that was a mis-reporting by the PRESS!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Johann

    Taiwan is not Thailand, why put "Outrage about Thai school's Nazi parade" in this article?

    September 29, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • CW Cheng

      I guess, just like majority of Western people, this CNN journalist doesn't know the difference between Taiwan and Thailand. What a professional news publisher!

      September 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie C

      we can sell those dolls in the duty free stores in the airports 🙂
      I bet some people will love this

      September 30, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ani

      Seriously...Taiwan and Thailand? Hello? It's quite shocking to see this on CNN.

      October 1, 2011 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. appleofmyeye

    i wonder how hard is it to tell anything else from a key chain WHICH THEY DID NOT EVEN MAKE.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bunnicula

    Where does it say that is was modeled in the above article? All I saw was that his company admitted people were upset over it.
    I didn't see a comb-over, I saw bald.
    This just looks like a silly animae bald dude with slit eyes. I don't see Hitler at all.
    I'm not an anti-semite, so don't even go there. I just call it like I see it; and I'm not seeing Hitler.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. cc

    i have used a wallpaper of this artist's
    it is beautiful but i feel it is a bit awkward if someone see it
    because the wallpaper shows the employees hold a flag has the "money" mark on it
    it seem really alike Hitler's mark i have to say
    but the concept is the boss is evil as Hitler and make the employees do everything for earn the money
    i understand the meaning of the concept and it is a well-made wallpaper so i used it
    but obviously not for Jews....especially they dont know Taiwanese and they see the mark....

    September 29, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hunter

    Hilarious! Certainly soon to be a collector's item. Wish I could be in Taiwan just to get one while they last.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. J.W


    mark's blog. if you know Chinese, you would know this is not the idolatry of Hitler, but ironically comic.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lucy

    First of all, the BOSS dolls are not modelled after Hitler. A while ago the cartoonist Mark himself declared this on Yahoo! News Taiwan, and I haven't got a clue why this article says that he'd modelled the doll after Hitler.
    Secondly, the only people who's found this doll offensive is the workers at Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei. This cartoon has been going on for the past the three years and never caused any problems until now. I suppose from now on people who has a hairbrush mustache, wears a red armband and a suit that looks like army uniform, are no longer allowed to appear within 100km around the office then. You know, just in case they offend Israelian workers (whose ancestors probably killed like the Nazi when invading Palestine)
    Finally, what I don't understand is, why this news can make it to the front page of CNN? Doesn't CNN have other important news to report? I mean, poor Mark Lee is only trying to make people laugh by creating once-globally-friendly comic; and he's done a great job until now (3 years later) because of some oversensitive and dramatic people who don't have a COMMON sense of humor... Anyway, all BOSS and MARK models are gone now. Mark Lee is now branded as a Nazi worshiper, millions of fans are upset, workers at Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei are super happy because they've won over Nazism again (and will be hated by millions of Taiwanese)! Well done!

    September 29, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. Charles

    Why do Taiwanese bare the sins of other nations past history?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Charles

    Why limits the number of posts?
    Surely issues like this will not have only 8 pages (some other articles have even more than 20 pages).

    September 29, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Philip L

    Another "much ado about nothing".

    September 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CW Cheng

    To the editor of CNN

    I am a citizen of Taiwan. I have been a fan of Mark Lee and his interesting works for more than two years since I graduated and started my gloomy life as an employee. Lee's works has been encouraged and entertained thousands of employees in Chinese society. If you understand Chinese, you will see Lee has been trying to humorously make fun of the employers (the Boss, with a mix of Vampire-Hitler-alike appearance) and has brought "us (little low-paid employees)" sunshine in our daily boring routines.

    In my point of view, the comments made by the ISECO is obviously that the Officers of ISECO know NOTHING about Chinese and they CANNOT read in Chinese. If they have ever visit Lee's blogger or Lee's facebook and have a 10 mins browse. The ISECO shall not have made this kind of unfair and unreal judgement. I don't know why the ISECO send officers who don't understand our culture and language to Taiwan. To me, it is totally unprofessional.

    The problem leads to this unbalanced report is that the journalist who wrote this report have never speak to Mr. Lee or even check the contents of his works. As one of the top new publishers; should not CNN educate your young journalists to deeply check the "truth" before reporting to the public?

    Finally, again, if you understand Chinese, it is easy to tell that Mr. Mark Lee has never promoted the thinking of Nazi. The only connection between "the Boss" and Hitler is the patch and the mustache, nothing else. For the sake of God, leave "us" alone.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Second that !!!

      September 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • CW Cheng

      Furthermore, I am very very sorry for people who were massacred and/or harmed in any wars.
      As one of the latest generation of Taiwan, one of the victims during World War II, I am against War and any politicos who has/had been raise war for being benefited. I hate these politicos but I won't hate the country they come from. There are always evil politicos, so as kind people. Why not forget "the way of sorting people (nationalities, races...etc)" and remember "the mistake of sorting people in history (Nazi)". Mustache and patch should not be symbols of Nazi and smart as us should not give Nazi chance to have symbol.

      Hopefully you can understand....

      September 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ani

      You go Chang!!

      October 1, 2011 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rebecca

    Seriously, Hitler was Austrian Jew.....

    September 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
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