A former writer for the iconic kids show Seasme Street is claiming that roommate puppets Bert and Ernie are, in fact, a gay couple… even as the show itself denies it.
Mark Saltzman, who joined the show in 1984 about fifteen years after the characters were first introduced, claims that he wrote them as a “loving gay couple.”
Saltzman said: “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,” he added. “I didn’t have any other way to contextualise them.”
Despite Saltzman’s opinion, however, Sesame Workshop, which produces Sesame Street, hit back–saying that puppets “do not have a sexual orientation.”
“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” said Sesame Workshop, in a statement. “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.”