The British newspaper The Independent reports that councillors in the town of Tuszyn have punted Pooh as a possible playground patron because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress.
Illustrations of the bear created by British author A.A. Milne in the 1920s confirm Pooh does tend to wander the Hundred Acre Wood in the buff or squeezed into the teensiest of red T-shirts.
“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” Coun. Ryszard Cichy is quoted as saying.
“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.”
An unnamed councillor denounced poor Pooh as a “hermaphrodite" — although the official may have meant the bear was androgynous.
“It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex.”
The comments of the officials were sneakily recorded by a councillor and leaked to local media, according to the Croatian Times. Cichy said later that he had been joking at the end of a discussion on a playground that had gone on too long.
Joke or not, Tigger and Eeyore would doubtless not be amused.
Milne named Pooh for a teddy bear owned by his son, who was the basis for the bear's friend, Christopher Robin, in the stories.
The boy had in turn named his toy after a Canadian black bear he often saw at the London Zoo. The bear cub had been purchased from a hunter by Canadian Lt. Harry Colebourn in White River, Ont., while he was en route to England during the First World War.
Colebourn named the bear Winnie after his adopted hometown of Winnipeg. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France.