Poland to probe if Teletubbies are gay

WARSAW Mon May 28, 2007 7:39pm BST

The first talking ''Teletubbies'' are shown in this file picture. Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

The first talking ''Teletubbies'' are shown in this file picture. Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Dalder

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies.

Ewa Sowinska, government-appointed children rights watchdog, told a local magazine published on Monday she was concerned the popular BBC children's show promoted homosexuality.

She said she would ask psychologists to advise if this was the case.

In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: "I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy."

"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby ... Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."

Poland's rightist government has upset human rights groups and drawn criticism within the European Union by apparent discrimination against homosexuals.

Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych has proposed laws sacking teachers who promote "homosexual lifestyle" and banning "homo-agitation" in schools.

But in a sign that the government wants to distance itself from Sowinska's comments, Parliamentary Speaker Ludwig Dorn said he had warned her against making public comments "that may turn her department into a laughing stock."

The 10-year-old Teletubbies, which features four rotund, brightly coloured characters loved by children around the world, became a target of religious conservatives after Falwell suggested Tinky Winky could be homosexual.

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