Osama bin Muppet?

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The Children's Television Workshop was even compelled to issue this denial: "Bert and Ernie, who've been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future.

"They are puppets, not humans," the statement read.

Caught on Camera: Bert and Pamela Anderson

So what got into Bert's fuzzy little head when he decided to pose with bin Laden? You'll have to ask Web designer and Internet jokester Dennis Pozniak of Edmonton, Alberta.

The 20-year-old Canadian runs the "Bert Is Evil" Web site, which features photos of Bert in a variety of compromising positions. In one shot, he's side by side with Hitler. In another, he's smoking dope at Woodstock. Still another shows him making passionate love to Pamela Anderson.

Somehow, one of Pozniak's photos got downloaded, printed by a poster shop in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and distributed to demonstrators who were angry over the U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan.

Mostafa Kamal, production manager of Azad Products, told The Associated Press he had gotten the images off the Internet. "We did not give the pictures a second look or realize what they signified until you pointed it out to us," he said.

The poster is a montage that shows bin Laden in several poses, holding a microphone, in military fatigues, and of course, with the menacing, open-mouthed Bert. About 2,000 were printed.

"No one could have been more shocked than me," Pozniak told The Wolf Files. "I never expected one of my fake photos to end up in a real news photo. It blew me away."

Pozniak took over the "Bert Is Evil" Web site in 1998, and says that it's now experiences the best traffic in its four-year history. At midday today, 25,000 people had visited the site, up from an average of just a few hundred daily visitors a few weeks earlier.

"It's building," says Pozniak. "I'd say there's a good chance I'm going to crash my server soon."

Why Pick on Bert?

Still, you have to ask, why pick on Bert? "You could do Kermit. You could do Miss Piggy. But Bert just has that perpetual scowl," Pozniak says. "You're always wondering what's up with him."