'Sesame Street' Threatens Lawsuit Over Gay Muppet Rumors

(Page 2 of 3)

The Muppet duo have other image problems. Just last year, only weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, anti-American demonstrators in Bangladesh brandished a poster of Osama bin Laden with a sneering Bert — who had seemingly lost his conical little mind and joined the Taliban. Images of Bert and Osama side by side flashed across TV, Internet all across the world.

How did the protesters get their hands on such a vile image? They downloaded it from the Internet, of course. It was doctored photo, created by Brad Fitzgerald, for "Bert Is Evil" — a now-defunct Web humor site that linked Bert as the sinister force behind every dark moment of the 20th century. At the JFK assassination, Bert is shown standing near the president's motorcade just before the shooting. The Muppet is also pictured marching with Hitler, smoking dope at Woodstock, and making passionate love to Pamela Anderson. Fitzgerald claimed that Bert and Lee Harvey Oswald plotted JFK's demise after they met in North Korea. As for Bert's involvement in the KKK, Fitzgerald reported that Bert was a founding member. "The Klan's pointed cowl was actually patterned after Bert's head," according to the Web site. The site also pictured Bert with Osama, tying the Muppet to various acts of terrorism. A Bangladeshi poster shop didn't realize the image was a joke when they printed up 2,000 posters for Anti-American protesters.

'It's OK to Be a Gay Muppet'

Fitzgerald's site had actually been closed several months before the protests, after lawyers for the Children's Television Workshop threatened to sue him. However, was so popular that images had been floating around the Internet. "I still think I had the right to do what I did. It was all in fun, just parody," he said. "But I'm just one guy and I can't take on a multi-million-dollar corporation, so I stopped." Fitzgerald says he's not surprised that the Children's Television Workshop is after a filmmaker who wants to take on Ernie and Bert's sexuality. But he thinks the Muppet should be free to choose his own lifestyle.