‘Barney’ Docuseries Exposes Off-Screen Death Threats, Hatred and Drug Rumors

Barney and Friends (Credit: YouTube)

Barney & Friends was created to educate and entertain children. But as the kids show featuring the talking purple dinosaur exploded in popularity, it became a target of hate by angry adults.

The new documentary series I Love You, You Hate Me follows “the rise and fall of Barney the dinosaur’s furious backlash — and what it says about the human need to hate,” according to the official description from Peacock.

This week the streamer released the trailer for the two-part docuseries, which reveals the dark side of the 1990s show. Performers and crew members share stories in the trailer about “violent” and “explicit” threats.

“They were going to come and find me and they were going to kill me,” says Bob West, the original voice of Barney.

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Another show insider says he faced rumors that the Barney actors hid drugs in the costumed character’s tail.

I Love You, You Hate Me unpacks how a children’s character who stood for inclusion, understanding, and kindness birthed a movement of anger and criticism that threatened the show, its creators, and their futures,” says executive producer Joel Chiodi in a statement. “As it spotlights the beginnings of modern-day hate culture, this documentary traces the creation of the character and how it took a toll on the people closest to it.”

Texas mom Sheryl Leach created Barney & Friends in 1992. After premiering on PBS, the hit series spawned toys, records, feature films and parodies.

The docuseries about the show is produced by Scout Productions. Tommy Avallone is the director and Trent Johnson produced the series. Executive producers include Rob Eric, Joel Chiodi, David Collins, Michael Williams, Tommy Avallone, Raymond Esposito, Wendy Greene, and Amy Goodman Kass.

I Love You, You Hate Me begins streaming Oct. 12 on Peacock.