The chain announced that it is refusing to stock the stamps in any of its 38 stores, citing the management’s Christian beliefs.
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.”
Ylinen also insisted that all customers are of equal value to the store. “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,” he said.
A spokesman for Finland’s largest LGBT rights organisation, Seta, said he was “amazed” at Halpa-Halli’s decision, and called on the company to reconsider its boycott.
ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON HALPA-HALLI IN YLE
Tom of Finland -merkit olivat liikaa tavarataloketjulle
Halpa-Hallin toimitusjohtaja: Tom of Finland -kohussa kohtuuttomia piirteitä
American friends can buy their stamps here.
Presenting comics by Touko Laaksonen in the same spirit for which Tom of Finland is known – without shame or reserve.
TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (From Mike – “In the Park”, Pt. 1), 1975, Pen & ink on paper, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1975 Tom of Finland Foundation
The exhibition includes artists associated with Tom of Finland Foundation including Etienne, The Hun, Michael Kirwan, Jouni Lepistö, Joe Phillips, Benoît Prévot, Studio Splatter, Thor of Sweden and Bill Ward.
The opening is also the launch of a very special book from Like Publishing, Tom of Finland: Sarja Kuvia. Tom of Finland Foundation has teamed with the publisher to present Tom of Finland’s comics in their original Finnish text, with several of the stories in print for the first time.
The exhibition is organized in cooperation with Tom of Finland Foundation, Tom of Finland Seura, The Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnish Comics Museum and The Finnish Comics Society. The Finnish Comics Society was the first Finnish organization to honor the artist in granting him the Puupäähattu in 1990, the most prestigious Finnish comics award.
The exhibition is one of the highlights of the the 29th Helsinki Comics Festival celebrating Queer artists this year, and it coincides with the 40th anniversary year of Seta.
Runs through: 28th September 2014
Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland awards annually its “Apple of Good Information” honorable mention to someone who has contributed positively to the situation of sexual or gender minorities. According to Seta, Itella Posti’s stamp collection featuring the art of world famous Tom of Finland, to be published in the autumn, is a “significant cultural achievement and an example of how a company can positively use the ideas of sexual orientation and gender diversity in its business operations”.
The Tom of Finland stamps will be published in honor of one of Finland’s best-known artists. Itella Posti’s stamp committee regards Tom of Finland creator Touko Laaksonen as an internationally distinguished artist whose works have significantly contributed to popular culture.
Credit: Itella Posti. Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND © 1979 Tom of Finland Foundation
“At Itella Posti, it is important to us that Finnish stamps live with the times and depict diverse topics. The Tom of Finland stamps raise awareness of a Finnish artist whose art has contributed to the promotion of sexual equality. More light will be cast on the person behind the art in the Post Museum’s exhibition to open in the autumn”, says Itella Posti’s Development Director Markku Penttinen.
The Tom of Finland stamps will be published on 8th September. Due to the great international demand, they are already available for advance order from Posti’s online shop. Graphic designer Timo Berry designed the stamps based on Touko Laaksonen’s works. The Tom of Finland Foundation applied for the topic with the stamp committee. In addition to the stamps, from September 8, a postcard series inducing three Touko Laaksonen art post cards and Tom of Finland stamps will also be for sale.
Annually, Itella Posti publishes around 20 stamp sets. The Tom of Finland stamps have raised the most international interest of any previous postage stamps – even before their publication.