Feb 10, 1999

Television preacher and Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell has warned parents that "Tinky Winky," a character on the popular PBS children's show, "Teletubbies," may be gay.

In a "Parents Alert" in the February issue of Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal, the Falwell newspaper says the "sexual preference of Tinky Winky" is the subject of debate and notes that the character sometimes carries a red purse.

The newspaper article, headlined "Tinky Winky Comes Out Of The Closet," cites other evidence as well.

"He is purple — the gay-pride color;" observes the alert, "and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay pride symbol."

Concludes the Lynchburg, Va.-based newspaper, "These subtle depictions are no doubt intentional and parents are warned to be alert to these elements of the series."

Observed Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, "Who's Falwell going to out next, Winnie the Pooh? Or maybe, Barney; he's purple, you know.

"If Falwell and his fundamentalist friends had their way," Lynn concluded, "there'd be nothing on the tube but TV preachers and the weather channel. I'd rather watch the 'Teletubbies' than televangelists."