A much-criticised effort, initiated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to hand out fur coats to Iceland’s poor has been canceled. The charity that was to coordinate the giveaway, Fjölskylduhjálp, claims this is due to demand outweighing supply.
As reported, 200 fur coats from PETA, all of them marked with a spray-painted pink X, were donated to Fjölskylduhjálp, for the purpose of handing them out in turn to Iceland’s needy. While PETA had their own rationale for the initiative, many criticised the effort as effectively “labeling” poor people in public by these marked furs.
Ásgerður Jóna Flosadóttir, the managing director of Fjölskylduhjálp, actively defended the furs last night, telling RÚV in part, “It’s actually hip and cool in foreign countries to wear a sprayed-upon fur, so I don’t quite know what people are talking about.” Ásgerður’s contentions are puzzling, as the only instance of sprayed-on furs being remotely “hip and cool” can be attributed to an incident involving Khloe Kardashian nearly three years ago.
The point now is moot regardless, as RÚV reports Fjölskylduhjálp has canceled the initiative, saying they cannot meet the great demand for the furs with only 200 coats.
Revealed in this discussion is the fact that Fjölskylduhjálp required that those seeking free furs from them give Fjölskylduhjálp access to a person’s tax returns. This information Fjölskylduhjálp reportedly used to determine if someone asking for furs was in fact poor.
Ásgerður, who is the only salaried employee of Fjölskylduhjálp, made headlines in 2010 when it came to light that she was making foreigners get to the back of the line when people show up for food donations. City officials pointed out that this practice is illegal, and Ásgerður – after initially denying she told reporters about the practice but then retracting this denial when Fréttablaðið released an audio recording of her conversation with a reporter – apologised, saying they would no longer be conducting this discriminatory practice. She was previously a candidate for the now-defunct Liberal Party, during a time when that party was employing anti-immigration sentiment as a platform point.