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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Fury after magazine unmasks Lordi
By Ilpo Salonen
BBC News, Helsinki

Member of rock band Lordi
Tomi Putaansuu as "Mr Lordi", never appears without his make-up
A Finnish magazine is in trouble with the public after publishing a picture of Eurovision winner Lordi's lead singer's face without a mask.

The band never appear without their outlandish outfits and guard their identities closely.

The decision by magazine Seiska - or 7 Days - to unmask "Mr Lordi" - real name Tomi Putaansuu - caused public outrage.

Many readers cancelled subscriptions and at least two companies cancelled their advertising campaigns.

Planned demonstration

People also expressed their utter outrage and disgust on internet discussion pages, with one website against Seiska collecting more than 200,000 signatures.

The magazine was forced to apologise and say it would not do it again.

The Finns were also upset by another magazine, Katso, which published pictures of other band members unmasked, but not Mr Lordi himself. Local newspaper, Haemeen Sanomat, also used pictures of the band they had acquired from the internet.

But even though many Finns have been angry, a planned demonstration in front of the Seiska corporate building in Helsinki did not quite turn out the mass event the police and the press had expected.

Putaansuu had appealed for calm and strongly denounced any violent means of expressing views regarding Lordi's treatment in the press.

Pure fantasy

In the event, the three demonstrators who turned up were outnumbered by about 20 reporters and at least as many police officers plus a few guards standing firmly next to riot fences.

The general mood in Finland is that there are limits to how much the press is allowed to penetrate into the lives of individual people, no matter how popular they are.

Media expert Kaarina Nikunen, of Tampere University, Finland, said the strong reaction over "Lordi-gate" may have been caused by the band's clearly expressed wish that they be allowed to remain incognito.

She said the public was happy to keep its perception of Lordi as pure fantasy characters.

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