Sandra Borch, the Center Party politician who has a track record of sparking conflicts both within and outside her small troubled party, got exactly what she wanted when she published photos of herself wearing a wolfskin coat over the weekend: Lots of attention.
Borch received a flood of nasty mail and comments on social media sites, after Tromsø newspaper Nordlys spread the news of her photo in the skin of an animal that long was threatened with extinction in Norway. The response has come from both within Norway but also abroad after media from the UK to Turkey picked up the item.
She initially told Nordlys that she posted the photo to provoke people, and show that she doesn’t care if they reacted negatively. Which they did, with some calling her a “terrible person” and others lodging death threats. Her small party, with farmers making up its largest constituency, has long advocated wolf hunts because it feels a resurgence in the wolf population threatens grazing sheep and rural residents. Others are working hard to preserve Norway’s fledgling flocks of the endangered animal.
Borch, known for criticizing her party’s former leader and later getting publicly yelled at by her, claims that “it’s not illegal to wear furs in Norway” and that the debate over controlling the wolf population is important. By Wednesday, though, she was toning down her initial comments to Nordlys, telling state broadcaster NRK that she really did not mean to provoke anyone and she wouldn’t be wearing the wolfskin coat to town this weekend.
In the end, Norwegian commentators were boiling it all down to a “political stunt,” that may well have backfired.