Osama bin Muppet?

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."

Pozniak depicts Bert at the JFK assassination, standing near the president's motorcade just before the shooting. "We have sources who claim that Lee Harvey Oswald and Bert were friends in Korea," the Web site reports. "Though no proof directly points to Bert's involvement in this ghastly shard of history … we wouldn't be too surprised if he was."

Bert also has a long history with the KKK, according to the site. "Some evidence points to the possibility that he is a founding member," it says. "The Klan's pointed cowl was actually patterned after Bert's head. In these photographs, Bert is seen at the burning of the crosses ritual."

Pozniak also accuses Bert of trying to market the "Shoot Me Up Elmo" doll for crackheads.

Pozniak says the makers of Sesame Street have never tried to stop him. "What I am doing is parody," he said.

But even a humorist has a heart. Like millions of others, Pozniak says he was overwhelmed when he woke up and saw New York's World Trade Center under attack. He took down the image of Bert with bin Laden, which had been posted more than two years ago in an item linking the Muppet to the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

"Then all these people were e-mailing me, asking for it. Someone even sent me an image of Bert flying a plane into the towers like a suicide bomber. Now that's really in bad taste," Pozniak says.

"All my photo did was show Bert and bin Laden side by side. Eventually, I put it back up."

Pozniak says the Bert Is Evil site will live on. As long as there are wrongdoers in the world, we'll have a puppet with a tarnished image to blame. Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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