(photo credit: REUTERS)
An online shopping website found itself in the throws of controversy Monday afternoon after appearing to market a toy reminiscent of a Nazi swastika.
The item, offered on the consumer website banggood.com, is described as an aluminum "four leafed [fidget] hand spinner" that retails for NIS 21.05 (approximately $6).
Soon after the trinket was posted for sale, it was removed from the retail website.
The toy, called a fidget spinner, is marketed as a stress relieving device, consisting of a three or four pronged design resembling a coaster-sized propeller with a bearing in the middle. The user holds the device at the center while the toy spins.
Some controversy arose after the spinner began gaining popularity around the world, with one Florida woman claiming that she came up with the idea after hearing of Palestinian children throwing rocks at IDF soldiers during a visit to Israel over 20 years ago.
That narrative was later put into question by Bloomberg News, who conducted an investigation into Catherine Hettinger's claim that she held the rights on the original spinning device idea.Swastika shaped fidget spinner
Records show that Hettinger was granted a patent for a spinning device in 1997, but the toy, which she pitched unsuccessfully to the toymaker Hasbro, holds little resemblance with today's fidget spinner.
Two patent experts who reviewed Hettinger’s idea at Bloomberg
’s request doubt it was the precursor of the current toy.
“In reading it, it doesn’t appear to cover the products that people are selling now,” Jeffrey Blake, a partner at a law firm focused on intellectual property, told Bloomberg.
Contacted through email by The Jerusalem Post
, banggood.com did not immediately reply for comment.Daniel Altman contributed to this report.