Finland: Store refuses to stock homoerotic Tom of Finland stamps to avoid ‘offending’ customers
A Finnish supermarket chain has refused to stock any of the range of stamps produced to commemorate the influential gay artist Tom of Finland.
The Finnish postal service Itella announced a line of stamps earlier this year featuring the art of Tom of Finland – who inspired the look of Freddie Mercury and the Village People.
After the stamps went on sale on Monday, Itella reported that it had received pre-orders from 178 countries, and that the range of stamps were the best selling in its history.
However, Finnish supermarket chain Halpa-Halli has refused to stock the stamps, claiming they could “offend” customers.
Halpa-Halli Managing director, Janne Ylinen, said: “The stamps do not unfortunately represent our values.
“We have had a great deal of supportive feedback from our customers over our decision… and we don’t want to offend our customers by stocking the stamps.
“This is not a political move, but one related to our product strategy, in which we are respecting our customers’ peace of mind. We don’t want to unnecessarily provoke people in areas where we have stores.”
LGBT rights group Seta has warned the company that it will face a boycott if it does not reverse the decision.
The artist, real name Touko Laaksonen, died in 1991 but remains an influential figure in the gay art scene, and is one of Finland’s most well-known figures.