Sesame Street says Bert and Ernie are NOT gay and are just puppets with ‘no sexual orientation’

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THE creators of Sesame Street have weighed in on the nature of Bert and Ernie’s relationship saying they “have no sexual orientation”.

Bert and Ernie’s very special friendship has been a hotly-debated mystery ever since the iconic children’s show first aired in 1969.

A Sesame Street writer has revealed that live-in pair Bert and Ernie were gay lovers

A Sesame Street writer has revealed that live-in pair Bert and Ernie were gay loversMany were convinced the two lovable characters who shared a basement apartment on 123 Sesame Street – but slept in different beds – were gay lovers.

But the shows creators rejected claims that they were a couple describing them as “best friends”.

A statement from the Sesame Workshop stated: “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.”

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Some fans didn’t take the news that the duo were not romantically involved well with one saying it had “broken his heart”.

Others pointed out that other Muppets do appear to have a sexual orientation highlighting the decades long love affair between Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

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The statement came following claims from former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman, who joined the Sesame Street team in 1984, saying he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

He told Queerty the characters reflected his own same-sex relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman at the time.

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Script and songwriter Mark Saltzman, wearing red, said they reflected his own same-sex relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman, left
Script and songwriter Mark Saltzman, wearing red, said they reflected his own same-sex relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman, left
Queerty

Saltzman, a script and songwriter on the show, said he wrote them as a loving couple, news.com.au reported.

He added: “I remember one time a preschooler [in San Francisco] turned to her mum and asked, ‘are Bert and Ernie lovers?’ and that, coming from a preschooler, was fun.

“That got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it.

“And 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.”

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Bert and Ernie have been a permanent staple of the show since appearing in the 1969 pilot episode
Bert and Ernie have been a permanent staple of the show since appearing in the 1969 pilot episode
Getty Images – Getty

The news had been a long time coming for many in the LGBT community who see Bert and Ernie as gay icons.

After same-sex marriage was legalised in New York, fans of the show set up a petition asking the show’s creators to have Bert and Ernie get married on screen, according to Pink News.

Bert and Ernie lived together in a basement apartment on 123 Sesame Street - though they slept in different beds
Bert and Ernie lived together in a basement apartment on 123 Sesame Street – though they slept in different beds
Peter Bischoff – Getty
Saltzman said he wrote the two characters as gay because he did not know 'how else to contextualise them'
Saltzman said he wrote the two characters as gay because he did not know ‘how else to contextualise them’

The puppet pair also found themselves at the heart of a fierce debate about discrimination and religious beliefs in 2015.

A baker in Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake advocating gay marriage with their faces on it.

Saltzman told Queerty that he would tell people the duo were based on him and Glassman, adding: “I was Ernie.


“I look more Bert-ish. And Arnie as a film editor — if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paperclips and organisation?

“And I was the jokester. So, it was the Bert and Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street.

“So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. I wrote sketches… Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert and Ernie dynamic.”

A version of this story appeared on news.com.au


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