Roald Dahl’s BFG faces a sworn enemy in Romania: politician notified Consumer Protection over grammar mistakes in the book, prompted action against library, case solved in court. Politician still calls out “obscene language”

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An unprecedented “war” has taken place in the Romanian city of Iasi, where a local politician notified the Consumer Protection body years ago to ban the sale of Roald Dahl famed children’s book The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant). The volume contained “grammar mistakes”, argued politician Marius Ostaficiuc. The Consumer Protection stood by the claim and sanctioned a library, but the case was later solved in court, where judges rejected the arguments twice. Years later, the Consumer Protection has yet to return the fines applied in the case, while the politician, now a member of the Parliament, says he kept his initial impression about the book.

Ostaficiuc, a representative of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), notified the Consumer Protection about The BFG in 2015, after he bought it for one of his children. He mistook the famed mispronounced words of the book’s character for grammar mistakes and notified the Consumer Protection body. Inspectors went to the bookstore where the book was bought and applied fines for selling the said book, finding that it contained said “errors”, while not providing any mention that the book included errors for story purposes.

The company managing the bookstore turned to court, challenging the RON 1,000 fine received at the time. It won, the Consumer Protection appealed, but a second court rejected the breach claims again. A judge showed that the claims were not a breach of the legislation, but amounted to a literary analysis of the book, which did not match the duties of the Consumer Protection agent.

Years on, the Consumer Protection has yet to return the fine. And in February 2021, talking to G4Media.ro, Ostaficiuc said he retained the first impression, claiming the book included “obscene language” unsuitable to sixth graders.

In 2015, at the time of the BFG fine, the Consumer Protection body in the city of Iasi was also run by a person named politically by local PSD officials, namely a former cop known for his compliance with the PSD mayor of the city in the early years of the past decade.

Original article in Romanian by Sorin Semeniuc (edited for English by Costin Ionescu)

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