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Poland watchdog backs off

Wed 30 May 2007 In: International News

A day after she received international scorn for telling a Polish publication she had asked for a report on whether Tinky Winky and other Teletubbies are promoting homosexuality to children, the country's ombudsman for children is backing down. Ewa Sowinska had told a popular Polish magazine said she was concerned the popular show promoted homosexuality to unsuspecting minors. Sowinska said she had asked a panel of psychologists to investigate the popular children's television series. "I noticed that he has a purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy, Sowinska told the weekly "Wprost". The interview had been vetted and approved by her office before it was published. "At first I thought that must be a bother for him. Later I learned that there could be some hidden homosexual undertones," she told the publication. Her remarks were immediately likened to those several years ago of the late US evangelist Jerry Falwell who accused Tinky Winky of being gay because he carried a purse. Sowinska's remarks were picked up by newspapers around the world sparking ridicule, and yesterday she was back-pedaling. Sowinska's spokesperson Wieslawa Lipinska told The Associated Press that Sowinska "hasn't asked and won't ask" psychologists to investigate whether ‘Teletubbies' promote homosexuality. "They are fictional characters, they have nothing to do with reality, and the bag and scissors and other props the fictional characters use are there to create a fictional world that speaks to children," Lipinska said. "We are not going to deal with this issue any more." But Sowinska's initial interview continues to raise concerns among Polish gays where it is seen as the latest in a series of anti-gay moves by the government. Earlier this month Education Minister Roman Giertych unveiled draft legislation that would make it a criminal offence to "promote homosexual propaganda" in schools. If passed, the measure would essentially censor all discussion of homosexuality in schools and other academic institutions. LGBT organisations would be barred from schools and "teachers who reveal their homosexuality will be fired from work."     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 30th May 2007 - 12:00pm

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