Poland to investigate Teletubbies amid homosexuality concerns
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 10:59 AM ET
TV's colourful, gurgling Teletubbies will be investigated in Poland, after a government-appointed children's rights official raised concerns that the popular program advocates homosexuality.
In an interview with a local magazine, Ewa Sowinska said she is calling for psychologists to review the show — aimed at preschoolers — and recommend whether it should continue to be broadcast in Poland.
As with previous criticisms of the BBC-produced program (broadcast since 1997), the target is Teletubby Tinky Winky, the purple character topped with an inverted triangle aerial.
"I noticed [Tinky Winky] has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy," Sowinska said in comments published Monday.
"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby…. Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."
Over the years, European Union officials and human rights activists have criticized Poland's ruling conservative government for legislation that discriminates against homosexuals. For instance, the Education Ministry has proposed to fire teachers who promote a "homosexual lifestyle."
However, some government officials are distancing themselves from Sowinska's comments. Parliamentary Speaker Ludwig Dorn has warned Sowinska against making comments "that may turn her department into a laughing stock."
In 1999, U.S. evangelist and Christian right leader Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died earlier this month, also warned parents that Tinky Winky was a hidden symbol of homosexuality.
Poor Tinky Winky. He's been harrassed in the media so much in the past week. First references to Jerry Falwell, now the Poles. He's a hidden symbol of homosexuality because he's purple, has a triangle on his head and carries a purse? Do you think any five-year-old is going to figure that out, or is it only the adults who are taking this way over the edge? I don't see him playing pocket pool with the other Teletubbies. I would take that as an indication of promoting a gay lifestyle!