A debate among local politicians in Poland became an international story after an audio recording surfaced in which an official called Winnie the Pooh a “hermaphrodite” and voted to keep the cartoon bear out of Polish playgrounds, the New York Daily News reports.
“The British bear known for its love of honey and misadventures has no place in a Polish playground because [it is] ‘wholly inappropriate for children,’ a Tuszyn councilman said at a closed meeting to debate its pick for a playground’s mascot,” the publication reports.
Some of the officials apparently were disturbed by the character’s lack of pants.
The report notes: “Tuszyn councilmembers questioned Pooh’s sexuality and incorrectly called the fictional bear a hermaphrodite behind closed doors while debating whether to designate Pooh the mascot of their town’s playground, the Croatian Times reported.”
In an audio recording that was leaked to Polish media, one member of the council reportedly says of the character: “It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite.”
While at least one other official spoke graphically about author A.A. Milne’s apparent motivation for creating the asexual bear — which the report notes is not a hermaphrodite, according to the dictionary definition — another, Ryszard Cichy, offered a more measured response.
Said Cichy: “The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children.”
Cichy proposed a Polish character, “Floppy Bear,” as the mascot. The report notes that Floppy Bear wears pants.