Sale of Nazi-themed Valentine’s Day merchandise halted in Australia after outrage
An Australian company has put Valentine’s Day merchandise on sale featuring the face of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, drawing harsh criticism from a Jewish watchdog group.
Spicy Baboon in Queensland offered customers mugs, stickers, hoodies, Valentine’s Day cards, slices and T-shirts with Hitler’s image – a rose in his mouth and little hearts around him – alongside the caption: “Be mein.”
A statement accompanying the items on the company’s website reads: “Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than Time Magazine’s Man of the Year (1938) holding a rose.”
After backlash from Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission, the company removed the items from its website.
According to a statement issued by the ADC, Scott Mackenroth, owner of Spicy Bobbejaan, said the company meant no harm, thinking the products would be seen as cheeky fun “between couples”.
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ADC chairman Dvir Abramovich rejected the company’s “non-apology” and urged Mackenroth to visit Holocaust survivors to better understand the issue.
An undated screenshot showing a Valentine’s Day product with Hitler’s image listed and later removed from the website of Australian company Spicy Baboon. (Defamation Commission)
“This is a new and perverse low in Australian retail. The words sickening, vomit-inducing, and stomach-churning don’t even come close to describing this abomination,” reads a statement issued by Abramovich.
“In a way, it’s Holocaust denial for the 21st century. There is nothing funny, cool or fashionable about Hitler, and these products clearly demonstrate that nothing is off limits and that all bets are off when it comes to the humiliation of the Holocaust,” he added.
“Shame on this company for crossing all lines of moral decency… This cheap ploy to generate sales stabs a knife in the heart of the survivors who live here and is a spit on the graves of the brave diggers who gave their lives sacrificed to defeat the Third Reich,” Abramovich said.
Last August, Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, banned public displays of Nazi symbols, following a similar decision by Victoria, the country’s second most populous state.
It followed a decision by Queensland that it would also ban the public display of Nazi symbols, under new laws to combat hate crime and serious defamation across the state.
Other international digital shopping platforms have come under fire in the past for selling products deemed anti-Semitic or seen as glorifying Nazism.
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