US retail giant JC Penney has found itself the subject of a viral image, after road users in the US pointed out that a billboard advertising one of its kettles, looks like Hitler.

The retail company is no stranger to controversy, although in the past, it found itself under attack by anti-gay advocacy group One Million Moms, over an advert featuring gay talk-show host Ellen Degeneres in December, and earlier in 2012, partly in celebration of Fathers’ Day, and partly to rebuke similar criticisms, released an ad featuring gay dads and their children.

Images of the billboard featuring the kettle, which is above the 405 Intestate highway, near Culver City, California, went viral online, with many users commenting on the likeness the product bears to Hitler.

One Reddit user wrote: “That Hitler looks like a kettle,” and another said: “He even has his right arm extended.” A third wrote: “I’m a little Nazi, short and stout”.

The Telegraph reports that the kettle, from the Michael Graves Design, named the Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle, sells at £35.08 on the JC Penney website, and is eligible for UK delivery.

The kettle is described as: “This stainless steel tea kettle has all the bells and whistles you’ll need – a cool-touch handle, space-saving design and a delightful whistle to let you know when it’s ready to pour.”

Back in May 2012, JCP also came under fire from One Million Moms after the retailer released a pro-gay ad featuring a lesbian couple with a child.

The American Family Association’s outspoken campaign group, recently voiced its outrage at Disney, after organisers of an unofficial LGBT day said it would take place in Walt Disney World.

The group also took umbrage to a new TV show produced by Jennifer Lopez, about a lesbian couple, slamming it as “anti-family”, and prior to that, for similar reasons, attacked Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s new show, The New Normal.