Sesame Workshop stepped in to clear the air after the long-running debate over whether “Sesame Street’s” Bert and Ernie are gay heated up again this week.
Variety reports that the issue moved back to a front burner after former “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman “said in an interview Sunday that he wrote the relationship between Bert and Ernie based off his own with his partner, the late editor Arnold Glassman.”
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit education organization behind the PBS show, then swung into action with a message on Twitter denying that the puppets are gay.
“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the message says. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
Variety quotes Saltzman telling Queerty in Sunday’s interview: “I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. That’s what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert.”