Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind
Sesame Street, on Tuesday tweeted that Bert and Ernie do not
have a sexual orientation.
The tweet appeared to be a response to
former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman, who told LGBT blog
Queerty that he saw the characters as gay when he was writing
them in the 1980s. Saltzman added that he modeled their traits after
his own relationship with his partner, Arnold Glassman.
“That's what I had in my life, a Bert
and Ernie relationship,” Saltzman
said. “How could it not permeate? The things that would tick
off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert. How could it
In its tweet, Sesame Workshop said that
Bert and Ernie were just friends.
“As we have always said, Bert and
Ernie are best friends,” Sesame Workshop tweeted. “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 posses many human traits and
characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets
do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
After the Supreme Court in 2013 struck
down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which
prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of
gay and lesbian couples, The New Yorker released a cover
featuring Bert and Ernie cuddling on a couch as they watched
television coverage of the decision.