Snuffleupagus - The Villain?
Snuffleupagus was always my favorite character on Sesame Street. I loved mammoths, and he was just a big furry friendly one. I can't remember if I realized or not back then that, for the most part, Snuffy was just Big Bird's imaginary friend.
And then I read this section of a wikipedia article about him:
"In an interview on a Canadian telethon that was hosted by Bob McGrath, Snuffy's performer, Martin P. Robinson, revealed that Snuffy was finally introduced to the main human cast mainly due to a string of high profile and sometimes graphic stories of pedophilia and sexual abuse of children that had been aired on shows such as 60 Minutes and 20/20. The writers felt that by having the adults refuse to believe Big Bird despite the fact that he was telling the truth, they were scaring children into thinking that their parents would not believe them if they had been sexually abused and that they would just be better off remaining silent. On the same telethon, during Robinson's explanation, Loretta Long uttered the words "Bronx daycare," a reference to a news event on New York TV station WNBC-TV in which there were reports of alleged sexual abuse at a Bronx daycare center. This was seen in the documentary Sesame Street Unpaved."
I mean, really?
That goes pretty far afield in terms of mass media's effect on psychology, but someone had enough clout to eventually yell loud enough to make it a reality.
Kinda makes me sad though.