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Controversial Minority-Focused Fairytale Book’s Publisher Censured for ‘Misleading Customers’

Hungary Today 2021.01.19.

A central government agency has censured sexual minority rights NGO Labrisz Lesbian Association for failing to alert customers to the nature of A Fairyland for Everyone. The book contains fairytales retold to reflect the lives of different – among them sexual – minorities and has generated heated debate and controversies.

The book contains seventeen well-known tales reframed in a way in which the hero(es) belong(s) to a stigmatized or minority group such as the elderly, homosexuals, transsexuals, Roma, or people with disabilities; while adoption, extreme poverty, and children from abusive families are also featured among the tales’ themes.

It first made the headlines when Vice-President of the far-right Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) party Dóra Dúró shredded a copy of the book in protest against what she called ‘homosexual propaganda.’ Amid other incidents and the Association of Publishers and Booksellers’ protest against the campaign, the Fidesz-led government soon took up the debate as well. In his regular radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary is very tolerant of homosexuality, but homosexuals should leave children alone. Amid and in the aftermath of the scandal, the book topped and still tops several best-seller lists.

In response to a “report in the public interest,” the central government office of Budapest, however, conducted a review of the matter and concluded that Labrisz had published the book “with a title and cover suggestive of a book of fairytales without signalling that the stories contained non-traditional gender roles.”

Thereby, it argued, the NGO had engaged in “unfair market practices” by failing to alert readers to “alternative gender roles” in the book that sparked controversy when it was published in the autumn. Customers bought the book on the basis of “misleading information,” the government office said.

Therefore, the office has instructed Labrisz to “always provide full information on merchandise pertaining to its activities.”

featured image via Labrisz- Facebook