~sIs Tinky Winky gay?
Dear Matt (and Steve). This story is in USA Today.
I tried to "clean" it up a bit.
Falwell says Teletubby is gay, damaging
Jerry Falwell: Is trying to out Tinky Winky (AP).
ROANOKE, Va. Is Tinky Winky gay?
The Rev. Jerry Falwell suspects so, telling parents that the purple Teletubbies
character from the popular children's television show is a homosexual role model.
Under a headline that reads "Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the
Closet," an article in the February edition of the National Liberty Journal
notes that Tinky Winky has the voice of a boy yet carries a purse.
"He is purple the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a
triangle the gay-pride symbol," the story said. The paper is edited and
published by Falwell.
Falwell contends the "subtle depictions" are intentional and in a statement
issued Tuesday said, "As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is
damaging to the moral lives of children."
A spokesman for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co., which licenses the Teletubbies in the
United States, said that what Falwell's newspaper described as a purse is actually Tinky
Winky's magic bag.
"The fact that he carries a magic bag doesn't make him gay," Steve Rice said.
"It's a children's show, folks. To think we would be putting sexual innuendo in a
children's show is kind of outlandish."
The British show aimed at toddlers began airing on U.S. public television stations last
spring and is now as popular as Barney, a singing dinosaur who also happens to be purple.
The Teletubbies are portrayed by actors in oversized, brightly colored costumes. They
all have television screens on their tummies and, according to the story line, live in a
superdome hidden in the hills.
Other than Tinky Winky, the troupe features Dipsy in green, Laa-Laa in orange and Po in
red. The Teletubbies dance, sing and share "bi-i-ig hugs" beneath a radiant sun
emblazoned with the face of a laughing infant.
Rice said Falwell was attacking "something sweet and innocent" to further his
conservative political agenda. "To out a Teletubby in a preschool show is kind of sad
on his part. I really find it absurd and kind of offensive," he said.
Falwell's spokeswoman, Laura Swickard, said the founder of the now-defunct Moral
Majority agreed with everything that was in the NLJ article and would not comment beyond
his one-paragraph statement.
In 1997, Falwell urged General Motors, Chrysler and Johnson & Johnson to withdraw
their sponsorship of an episode of the sitcom Ellen when the lead character
announced her homosexuality.