Sesame Street Shuts Down Bert And Ernie Gay Claims
Sesame Street writer clarifies claims that Bert and Ernie are gay
- "Sesame Street" writer Mark Saltzman revealed in an interview earlier this week that he wrote Bert & Ernie as gay.
- Twitter erupted at the news, and Sesame Workshop and creator Frank Oz quickly denied Saltzman's words.
- Saltzman later clarified that while he thought of Bert & Ernie as gay, that doesn't mean that they are.
Twitter erupted Sunday when a former "Sesame Street" writer seemed to confirm that iconic characters Bert and Ernie are gay. Days later, following internet jubilation and immediate denial by Sesame Workshop, the same writer is clarifying his words.
"As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work," Mark Saltzman told the New York Times in a follow-up interview. "Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay. There is a difference."
There has been heavy speculation over the puppets' relationship status ever since "Sesame Street" debuted in 1969. So what exactly is Bert and Ernie's relationship?
"They are two guys who love each other," Saltzman continued. "That's who they are."
In the original interview that made headlines, Saltzman told Queerty that, "when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were [gay]."
"I didn't have any other way to contextualize them," he explained, pointing out that his own relationship with his husband was similar to the "Sesame Street" duo. "So I don't think I'd know how else to write them, but as a loving couple."
Many from Sesame Workshop have denied that the pair is a couple.
While the internet seemed elated by the news, other "Sesame Street" figures quickly denied the claim. Frank Oz, who helped create the characters, tweeted that the characters are "of course" not gay.
"It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay," he wrote. "It's fine that he feels they are. They're not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There's so much more to a human than straightness or gayness."
Sesame Workshop also responded, clarifying that the duo are "best friends" and have no sexual orientation because they are Muppets.
"As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends," Sesame Workshop tweeted out. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identifiable as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most 'Sesame Street' Muppets do), they remain puppets, and have no sexual orientation."
Many fans found the knee-jerk denial of the puppets' possible sexuality troubling. Other just craved representation of the LGBT community in children's media. Others still thought this was all much ado about ... muppets.
Later, Sesame Workshop released another statement to address fan reactions.
"Sesame Street has always stood for inclusion and acceptance," their account tweeted. "It's a place where people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome.
Video: Sesame Street: How They Became Bert & Ernie (Fresh Prince of Bel Air Parody)
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