Bert and Ernie ‘are not a gay couple’
THE creators Sesame Street have denied two of its key characters are gay, saying buddies Bert and Ernie ‘were created to be best friends’.
The kids’ show controversy arose after one of the show’s longtime writers claimed the pair are a couple, which he had based on his own gay relationship.
Mark Saltzman told lifestyle publication Queerty that Bert and Ernie’s dynamic mirrored his dynamic with film editor Arnold Glassman.
But the producers of the iconic US show have denied Saltzman’s claims of a bromance between the pair.
Writing on Twitter, Sesame Workshop said: ‘Sesame Street has always stood for inclusion and acceptance.
‘It’s a place where people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome.
‘Bert and Ernie were created to be best friends, and to teach young children that people can get along with those who are very different from themselves.’
In an earlier statement, the producers said: ‘Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics… they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.’
But Saltzman, who has penned tens of songs for Sesame Street, is adamant he wrote Bert and Ernie as lovers.
‘I always felt that, without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualise them,’ he said.
The two puppets, who have appeared on the show since 1969, certainly share a flat, but have single beds.
Another theory that has been offered by rival Sesame Street writer Jon Stone is that Bert and Ernie reflect the dynamic between their creators, Muppets man Jim Henson and Star Wars puppeteer Frank Oz.
Author: Anna Thomson