General News

EXTRA: Tinky Winky Speaks! Mother Sues!

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

News flash: Tinky Winky accused of promoting firearms! As the Teletubbies surely know by now, it's much easier to pacify thumb-sucking kiddies than uptight grown-ups.

Last year, media holy-roller Jerry Falwell "outed" Tinky Winky, accusing the purple, triangle-flagging, purse-carrying creature of being a flagrant homosexual. Now another mind-boggling Tinky Winky controversy is brewing on the horizon.

And this time -- believe it or not -- Tinky Winky is linked to gun violence.

In case you're clueless here, the Teletubbies is a children's TV show imported from the U.K. that pacifies pre-cognitive toddlers with nonsensical gibberish. Since its inception in 1997, the show has been periodically attacked -- sometimes because of the Tubbies' indecipherable, mush-mouth jargon (the red character, Po, was once accused of saying "faggot"), sometimes for merely lulling toddlers with insipid-yet-addictive entertainment.

This new Teletubbies scandal does not concern the TV show itself but one of the many toys inspired by it.

It began when Renee Michelle Taylor, a 22-year-old mother from Oceanside, Calif., bought a talking Tinky Winky doll. When she tugged Tinky's left hand and the toy opened its plastic mouth, Taylor couldn't believe her ears.

"He was saying, 'I got a gun, I got a gun, run away, run away,' " Taylor told APBnews.com last week.

Now Taylor says she's preparing to file a lawsuit. Her goal? To wipe those foul-mouthed, deviant Teletubbies from the planet. (Her attorney, Matthew Palmer, didn't return calls seeking comment.)

The talking doll is part of the Talk Together Teletubbies line, whose claim to fame is the ability to "speak" to one another via infrared sensors and built-in sound chips.

The words that supposedly come out of Tinky Winky's perpetually open mouth are the TV show's catchphrase: "Again, again."

Curiously, Tinky Winky hasn't been given a chance to defend her/himself from the attack, even though Taylor's accusations have attracted national headlines. So, Hollywood.com tried to get the story straight from the purple Tubby's mouth; unfortunately, the folks at Itsy Bitsy Entertainment (the show's U.S. representatives) weren't of much help.

Hollywood.com: "We were wondering if we could talk to Tinky Winky himself about the latest controversy."

Itsy Bitsy Entertainment: "How would you mean?"

Hollywood.com: "Well, we just want to see how he feels about being the center of yet another scandal."

Long pause.

Itsy Bitsy Entertainment: "Tinky Winky is an actor in a suit. You do know that."

Oh. But are they sure everyone else knows that?

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