Man denied disability help due to nude pics

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A slightly more traditional Norwegian interior. File photo: Bosc d'Anjou/Flikr
14:07 CEST+02:00
A disabled Norwegian man has found himself in a nude self-portrait standoff with his local municipality, which is refusing to send a care assistant to his home unless he removes what they call pornographic images from the walls.

Tommy Rune Foss Catlover, 53, receives disability benefits and applied for a personal care assistant from the municipality four years ago. But local authorities have said that no help will be forthcoming until he cleans up after his cats and takes down images of naked women. Catlover, who took the pictures himself, also features in some of the wall-mounted photos, which authorities have deemed offensive. 

"If I take down the pictures it will look like I'm giving in," Catlover told the Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper, adding that his taste in art should be of no concern to the municipality.

"The pictures are an irrelevant factor, it's health factors that should be important." 

The local authorities in Vestby, just south of Oslo, said it was not appropriate to consider Catlover's pictures a simple detail or an uncomplicated choice of interior decoration.

"Generally we don't care about the interior or exterior of the house, but there are degrees. It can't be the kind that risks violating work environment legislation," spokeswoman Hanne Marthinussen told the TV2 news channel. 

After not seeing eye-to-eye with the local authorities, the 53-year-old instead turned to the national health authorities, who agreed with him. 

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"Home assistance can in principle not be denied based on the person's home interior or pets in the home," the official answer to his plea for help read.

Catlover admitted that his home was dirty, but added that joint problems made it impossible for him to clean up the mess that his three cats have left behind, which is one reason why he applied for help from the municipality to mop up the filth in the first place.

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