The Finns Party Parliamentary Group says it is cutting ties with MP Ano Turtiainen after he posted a racist meme on Twitter on Wednesday, mocking the death of George Floyd in police custody in America.
Turtiainen can apply for membership of the group next year, and re-entry is conditional on permanent changes in his behaviour.
“Of course we have to draw a line somewhere” says Ville Tavio, leader of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, who adds that MPs had a long discussion about the “inappropriate comments” before deciding to kick Turtiainen out.
Turtiainen deleted the racist posting after a slew of complaints and criticism from Twitter users during the day on Wednesday but it wasn’t enough to avoid censure from his party’s Parliamentary Group.
The South Savo MPn, a former power lifter who competed internationally, faced a complaint earlier this year after calling a senior Helsinki police officer a “munaton nillittäjä” – which translates colloquially as “dickless whiner.”
Finns Party’s long entanglement with racism
Turtiainen is not the first Finns Party politician or party activist to face a public backlash for racist online posts. He’s not even the only one who posted offensive, racially charged or misleading posts this week about racial tensions in America.
MEP Laura Huhtasaari posted a graph claiming to show “interracial violent crime incidents 2018” which appears to prove a disproportionately instance of black-on-white violence and Hispanic-on-white violence, as the Brussels-based politician tries to demonstrate that white people are under attack from minorities in America.
The graphic Huhtasaari posted has been debunked as inaccurate and misleading.
In March the Finns Party scrapped its youth group after they had been de-funded by the ministries to the tune of tens of thousands of euros for posting racist messages on social media; and after one of the senior members declared himself a “fascist” at a far-right conference in Estonia.
A selection of their current crop of politicians includes Oulu MP Sebastian Tynkkanen who was convicted last October of posting anti-Islam messages on social media; MEP Teuvo Hakkarainen, previously convicted of a drunken assault on a female MP in Parliament, who plastered xenophobic messages on his car during the 2019 election campaign; while Finns Party Chairman Jussi Halla-aho has also been convicted of race-bait crimes by Finnish courts.