How did Barney the Dinosaur die? The rumors debunked

Barney the Dinosaur

In the mid-90s, a movement calling for the death of Barney the Dinosaur emerged and grew stronger as the years went by. Unable to access Barney, the character’s would be murderers settled on burning, running over, and shooting Barney’s toys. Shows like San Diego Chicken ran comedy sketches of Barney being beaten up. 

Websites such as 150 Ways to Kill the Dinosaur and one with ‘alt.Dinosaur.Barney.die.die.die’ as the web address emerged. A game dubbed ‘The Jihad to Destroy Barney’, with a sole mission to eradicate Barney, gained popularity. 

Some videos on TikTok might mistakenly convince you that Barney the Dinosaur died. 

Barney the Dinosaur isn’t dead; reports about his demise are false

Some viral videos on TikTok claim Barney the Dinosaur died, which is false. They base their claim on a Google search about Barney’s death that alleges the NYPD killed Barney in 1997. 

The answer snippet comes from the following quote from an article in The Independent: “In November 1997, Barney the Dinosaur was stabbed to death by the New York City Police Department.” Taken independently, this statement confirms Barney died a brutal death at the hands of the NYPD. 

However, further reading of the article reveals that NYPD officers attacked an inflatable version of Barney during the 1997 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Strong winds made controlling the giant inflatable balloons of characters like Barney and The Pink Panther difficult. The New York Times reported:

“At times, the balloons were not gliding but instead were careering as their handlers on the ground struggled to keep control in winds that reached as high as 43 miles an hour. For a while, the balloons seemed to be falling like flies.”

The winds swept Barney’s balloon into a lamppost, inflicting extensive damage. The flapping remains of the 58-foot balloon presented a danger to the millions of people lining the New York streets, so the NYPD sprung into action, driving their knives into the balloon dino to calm it down. 

You can watch videos of the public murder on social media. As mentioned above, the inflatable Barney wasn’t the only representation of Barney undergoing assault – people burned, shot, maimed, and ran over Barney’s toys. 

Barney’s haters didn’t kill the character, but they threatened to murder people connected to the character. Bob West, an artist who voiced Barney, said in Peacock’s I Love You, You Hate Me:

“They were violent and explicit [death threats], death and dismemberment of my family. They were gonna come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”

Thankfully, the threats never materialized. Barney the Dinosaur left the screen, not through death, but via the cancellation of Barney & Friends by PBS in 2009.