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Fact or Fiction: Donald Duck banned in Finland for not wearing pants?
This is a false urban legend. In the late 1970’s Finland was cutting costs, so the Helsinki Youth Affairs board decided to cut back on purchasing comics for the youth center. Since hobby and sports were given top priority, Donald Duck got the boot!
The infamous myth all began when the man responsible for the decision (Markku Holopainen), was standing for parliament. A rival party had leaked information to the press, dubbing him “the man who banned Donald Duck from Helsinki”. The local press expanded and ran with the story, while the international press added the rest.
June 9 is Donald Duck’s birthday, and a long-standing rumor claims the character was banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear any pants.
But that’s fiction. It started back in the 1970s when a politician proposed a cash-strapped Finish city stop purchasing Donald Duck comics for a youth center.
When his re-election came around, his opponent called him, “The man who banned Donald Duck.”
He ended up losing and some tabloid news outlets twisted the story into Donald being banned for not wearing pants.
By the way, Donald Duck debuted in the Disney cartoon “The Wise Little Hen” on June 9, 1934.
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Donald Duck banned in Finland?
It’s a legend we giddily love to believe — Donald Duck was once banned in a foreign country because he didn’t wear any pants and cavorted with an unmarried female duck! Somewhere out there are people who can get even more uptight and humorless about something as innocuous as children’s comic books than Americans! Unfortunately, we Americans may have to retain the uptightness crown, because there’s nothing to this tale.
Our story begins in late 1977, when the city of Helsinki found itself in a bit of a financial crunch. With monetary resources limited, Mr. Markku Holopainen, a local Liberal Party representative, proposed at a meeting of the board of youth affairs that the city economize by discontinuing its purchase of Donald Duck comics for youth centers in favor of hobby and sport publications. His suggestion was heartily approved.
A year later, while Holopainen was in the midst of an election campaign for a seat in the Finnish parliament, word was leaked to the press that he was “the man who banned Donald Duck from Helsinki.” The chairman of the board of youth affairs failed to come to Holopainen’s defense — not surprisingly, since he himself was a candidate as well. Holopainen explained in vain that the decision to discontinue the purchase of Donald Duck comics with city funds had passed unanimously and was made solely for economic reasons. Holopainen lost his battle with the press — and he lost the election to the now-silent board chairman.
Donald Duck in Finland
Donald Duck is called Aku Ankka in Finnish (‘ankka’ is ‘duck’), and he certainly isn’t wearing any pants. It was just today that the mailman brought my kid the new Aku Ankka.