Controversy has erupted in France after the creator of a new stamp featuring the country’s revolutionary symbol Marianne says his work was inspired by a topless Ukrainian feminist protester who was granted political asylum by the French government.

“For all those who ask who the model was for Marianne, it’s a mix of several women, but particularly Inna Shevchenko,” said artist Olivier Ciappa, one of the stamp’s designers.

Shevchenko, 23, is the leader of the French branch of Femen, which bills itself as a “radical feminist” group. The organization is perhaps best known for staging topless protests around the world.

“FEMEN is on French stamp,” Shevchenko tweeted. “Now all homophobes, extremists, fascists will have to lick my ass when they want to send a letter.”

The stamp was unveiled by President Francois Hollande on Sunday as part of Bastille Day celebrations in the country. Already, France’s right-wing Christian Democratic Party is calling for a boycott of it.

Agence France-Presse via The Raw Story:

Among critics, the “French Spring”, a grouping of gay marriage opponents, hit out at what it called the “new Marianne”.

“Are there not enough beautiful and emblematic women in France that we have to import our models from Ukraine?” it lamented on Twitter.

Shevchenko, who came to France last August, told AFP she had been unaware she was an inspiration for the stamp.

“France always recognised women fighting… (It) is a symbol for all the world,” said the activist, who fears persecution in Ukraine after sawing down a wooden cross in Kiev, in a stunt intended to support Russian band Pussy Riot.

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