NEWS

Winnie-the-Pooh spanked by Polish council for not wearing pants

11/21/2014 11:35 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST
Beloved storybook character Winnie-the-Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground.

The so-called "bear of very little brain" apparently doesn't have enough clothes.

The stubby little cubby, based on an actual bear named after Winnipeg, was suggested at a meeting of the council in Tuszyn, a small town in central Poland, to be the face of a new public playground, according to media reports in the United Kingdom.

That prompted anger from some councillors, who called Pooh "inappropriate."

“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” said Coun. Ryszard Cichy. “It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children. [Poland’s fictional bear] is dressed from head to toe, unlike Pooh who is only dressed from the waist up.”

One even denounced Pooh as a “hermaphrodite.”

The meeting of officials was sneakily recorded by a councillor and leaked to local press, according to the Croatian Times.

Pooh made his debut in a collection of stories by A. A. Milne in 1926. At that time, he was completely in the buff.

In 1961, when Walt Disney licensed the rights and made a series of cartoon films about him, Pooh was outfitted with his now-familiar red shirt.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman offered his own irreverent take on the issue in a statement sent to CBC News on Friday.

"Clearly, Winnie is a cartoon bear who doesn’t wear pants, but I’d like to note that the beloved Disney characters Donald Duck and Chip and Dale (the Rescue Rangers) are also pant-less, Mickey Mouse doesn’t wear a shirt, and Tony the Tiger is nearly nude," he stated. "Should they be banned as well?

"Winnipeg is a tolerant and accepting community, and I hope that Winnie continues to teach children about kindness and friendship for years to come."

The story of Pooh bear

Lt. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, came across the orphaned female bear cub on Aug. 24, 1914.

When his troop's train stopped in White River, Ont., he met a hunter who had shot and killed the bear cub's mother, without whom the cub was almost certain to die.

Colebourn offered the hunter $20 for the cub, whom he named Winnipeg Bear to commemorate the city where he had lived before the war. The name was soon shortened to Winnie.

Winnie accompanied Colebourn to England, where the cub played with Canadian soldiers during their off-hours in their encampment on the Salisbury Plains.

Colebourn later donated Winnie to the London Zoo, where the bear inspired the creation of A.A. Milne's famous children's book character. Winnie died at the zoo in 1934.

Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park is home to the Pooh Gallery, which houses a permanent collection of Winnie the Pooh artifacts and memorabilia.

Featured prominently in the gallery is the painting Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Pot by E.H. Shepard, the original illustrator of Milne's series.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, viewed the painting during their visit to Winnipeg in May.

A bronze statue of Colebourn and Winnie is located at the park's nature playground.

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