Neo-Nazi extremists in Germany are using Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster as an advertising mascot to recruit children to their political cause.
The strategy has been going on for awhile now, apparently. The latest incident occurred recently in the German state of Brandenburg, reports the Daily Mail.
According to local police, a neo-Nazi named Steffen Lange got dressed up as Cookie Monster and strolled into a primary school in the eastern German hamlet of Senftenberg (pop. 25,061). He and his neo-Nazi sidekick then handed out extremist leaflets to children.
The leaflets were Cookie Monster-themed.
Police arrested Lange, 31, and his unnamed collaborator after a teacher complained.
When cops searched the residences of the two men, they discovered computers containing a bunch of extremist material. There were also more Cookie Monster-connected leaflets.
A police spokesman said German neo-Nazis have been using Cookie Monster-festooned imagery to recruit little kids into the neo-Nazi scene more and more frequently. He suggested that the neo-Nazi use of Cookie Monster is a way for the fringe movement to appear cool.
“It’s an attempt to make it seem harmless and everyday and perhaps something a bit fun and a bit rebellious,” the spokesman said, according to the Mail.
The Mail also notes an image floating around in the ether of the internet shows the Sesame Street character amid a bunch of people fawning over Adolf Hitler. The caption is “Who ate my biscuit?”
Cookie Monster appeared on Sesame Street during its inaugural season in 1969. His signature song, “C Is For Cookie”, was first aired during the show’s 1971-72 season. While he is known for eating lots of edible and inedible things, his favorite food is, of course, cookies—specifically, chocolate chip cookies.
It’s not clear why German neo-Nazis have seized on Cookie Monster instead of another Sesame Street character for their pamphlets aimed at young children. Why not Count von Count, who has a German-sounding last name? Or why not Oscar the Grouch, the ultimate trash-eating pessimist who owns a worm named Slimey?
Sesame Street has faced other, far more humorous appropriations of its characters in the past. Back in 1998, for example, the now-defunct website Bert is Evil! appeared. The website manipulated various images to show that the Sesame Street character Bert consorted with world-historical villains such as Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden—and likely had something to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.