Franz Oz, who co-created Sesame
Street's Bert and Ernie and voiced Bert until 2001, said in a
tweet Thursday that he thinks it's wonderful that people think Bert
and Ernie are gay.
Oz's comments were in response to those
made by a former Sesame Street writer who described Bert and Ernie as
a gay couple.
Mark Saltzman told LGBT blog Queerty
that he saw the characters as gay when he was writing them in the
1980s, adding 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 a tweet, Sesame Workshop, the
nonprofit behind Sesame Street, said that Bert and Ernie were
puppets without a sexual orientation.
former writer says Bert and Ernie are gay, Sesame
says they're puppets.)
Oz initially dismissed the question,
rhetorically asking on Twitter: “Does it really matter? Why the
need to define people as only gay? There's much more to a human
being that just straightness or gayness.”
On Friday, Oz appeared to say that
response to his original thoughts on the subject had opened his eyes.
“A last thought: If Jim [Henson] and
I had created B & E as gay characters they would be inauthentic
coming from two straight men. However, I have now learned that many
view them as representative of a loving gay relationship. And that's
pretty wonderful. Thanks for helping me understand,” he messaged.
The 74-year-old puppeteer is also known
for the role of Yoda in the Star Wars movie franchise.