The relationship of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street has been a running discussion/joke online. Many have pointed out that they’re obviously a gay couple, especially after former writer Mark Saltzman confirmed their relationship status and explained that he wanted characters that reflected his personal relationship. But the show had other another idea.
Last night, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street,released a statement to clarify that Bert and Ernie are “best friends” and that they are puppets that “do not have sexual orientation.” “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” they explained.
Puppeteer and Muppets collaborator Frank Oz also chimed in and said he created Bert’s character. Hence, he knows what he is and he’s not.
It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. 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 much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness.
Okay, fine, they can just be friends and roommates. But several fans are also questioning how Sesame Workshop is dismissing Mark’s writing of the characters. Many also expressed their disappointment over the news.
Likewise, Frank replied to one tweet and said he’s pleased that people saw themselves in these characters. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re not gay.
I understand. It must make you feel very alone. But please read what I wrote: I'm very pleased people see themselves and others in a character I created, but that does not change the truth of who or what that character is.
If they’re still not ready to have a gay couple on the show for the preschoolers to see, then they should explain why they paired up Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Their couple dynamic is different in children’s eyes, too. Let’s not forget that they even got divorced!