We’ve seen the so-called Hitler tea pot, the Nazi cafe and the Nazi teddy bear. Now, a mural appearing around New York City depicting Ronald McDonald making a Nazi salute is the latest Fuhrer portrayal to draw scrutiny.
The mural shows Ronald McDonald sporting his iconic red hair and dressed in green fatigues with a red Nazi-style armband that instead of a swastika is emblazoned with the golden McDonald's arches. His right hand extends upwards in a “Heil Hitler” salute while smiling his enthusiastic clown grin. Above the painted red grin, a black Hitler-like mustache is visible.
Israel National News reports that the mural, which appears in the SoHo neighborhood of lower Manhattan, has left observers “puzzled” since the neighborhood and New York City are not known as “as a bastion of white supremacists.”
“It's possible that the image is meant as a political statement, saying something about America's fast food cultural homogeneity. Or, perhaps most likely, it was just supposed to be a controversial piece of street art; the image is signed by a graffiti artist known as Whisbe, whose other 'work' in Soho includes images of provocatively-dressed females,” writes Israel National News.
Artist WhIsBe’s Instagram account shows numerous depictions of the Nazi Ronald McDonald which he calls #McDictator, including one that sprouted mini-Ronalds titled “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and a wallpaper using the theme.
The work appears to be an effort to criticize the global fast food brand for allegedly contributing to obesity and includes the slogan “Killing Americans one Happy Meal at a Time,” in reference to the popular children’s meal.
“There is a traffic jam around the block to get into McDonald's. I say its about time we stop pretending there isn't a serious obesity epidemic going on!!” WhIsBe posted on Instagram in June along with the photos of a traffic jam, an obese man and the Hitler Ronald.
How the "obesity epidemic" ties into Hitler is unclear, so TheBlaze e-mailed the artist to try to learn more about his objective, but he did not reply as of this writing.
In May, WhIsBe told the Southern Rambler why he chooses to remain anonymous, going by a nickname and sporting a bandanna around his face for photographs. “I let my work speak for itself,” he said. “I stay out of it, so the piece can be your experience.”
The blog Global Graphica in May wrote of the Ronald McDonald display (though it’s unclear if the compliment and “keep it up” suggestion were sarcastic):
This recent street art by the artist “WhIsBe” in New York City is charged with provocative, offensive imagery and is a striking piece of commentary on corporate brands and the military. The artwork is a mash-up of the McDonald’s corporation’s red-headed clown mascot Ronald McDonald and its branding with fascist militaristic images (Hitler moustache, Nazi salute and uniform). This is one of the more exciting, fresher pieces of street art we’ve seen in a long time. Seriously, keep it up, WhIsBe! If this wheat-paste street artwork is still up, you can find it on a wall on Thompson Street between Spring and Broome streets in SoHo.
An Israeli in New York, Ami Mesika, tells Israel National News, "To see images of a Nazi Ronald McDonald is simply offensive and horrific to anyone of any religion. Living in the area and seeing these images is disgusting and someone needs to take them down.”