PEDOBEAR PANIC SPREADS FROM CALIFORNIA TO OKLAMOHA
Pedobear Panic Spreads South to Tulsa, Oklahoma
But police forced to admit that Comic Con mascot was not a sex offender
Is panic over Pedobear sweeping America? Last week, California police mistakenly claimed that Pedobear, the cartoon character used by internet pranksters to flag up web content they consider pedophilic, was being used by pedophiles to attract young children.
Now terror over Pedobear has spread to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where police have issued a warning to local parents in the run-up to this month's state fair.
A Fox23 News report warned that parents should beware anyone at the fair dressed "as this cute and cuddly bear [because] underneath this costume could be a child offender".
Meanwhile Sgt John Phillips, from the Tulsa Police Department 'Exploitation' section, rejected the idea that Pedobear is simply an internet meme. Phillips told Fox23 News: "Some are claiming it's an internet hoax, well it's not an internet hoax because someone has taken it one step further. These are pedophiles, these are people who prey on our children."
The report also wrongly claimed that a person dressed in the suit at Comic Con in San Diego – whom the California police singled out earlier this week - was "a registered sex offender who had previously assaulted a child dressed in this suit".
The news channel's website has since issued an update on the story, saying that Tulsa police have admitted they made a mistake: "Today, Tulsa Police tell Fox23 News, they made a mistake and the man in the costume is not a registered sex offender.
Sheriff Warns Parents About Perils of Pedobear
4chan’s lecherous bear has become mascot of choice for pedophiles, say Californian policeThe First Post by Sophie Taylor , September 13, 2010
A Californian county sheriff's department has issued an astonishing and misguided warning about 'Pedobear', a cartoon character used ironically by members of the anarchic internet messageboard 4chan to mock those making sexually suggestive comments about children.
The character of Pedobear began life on the Japanese internet forum '2channel' where he was known as Safety Bear.
Safety Bear was adopted by users of the US-based picture board 4chan, who would attach him to any pictures of children they considered sexually suggestive, thereby branding the person who had posted the original image a pedophile. This became a running gag which spread to other internet messageboards and is now an in-joke among the internet savvy. One member of a popular social bookmarking site even proudly showed off their new personalised Visa card, emblazoned with Pedobear (above).
But the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department in southern California now appears to have decided that Pedobear has become a mascot for actual pedophiles.
The police department has decided to target Pedobear by issuing a warning against him, as well as their own 'public safety information bulletin'' poster which offers a backgrounder to 'the Pedo Bear', as they call him.
The police flyer warns of a "disturbing new phenomenon made popular by pedophiles and sexual deviants", which is known for its "'lecherous nature' towards prepubescent children". Recently, it goes on to claim, pedophiles "have adopted the bear as a mascot".
According to the San Luis Obispo County police, "individuals dressed in the bear costume" have been sighted. What the poster fails to mention, however, is that the photo published on the flyer was taken at Comic Con, the annual convention for comic fans.
As Gawker, who broke the story, puts it: "The person inside the costume - and anyone spotted with pedobear paraphernalia - is a nerd who spends too much time on the internet."