It seems the LGBTQ + community celebrated too soon.
Just hours after “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman confirmed Bert and Ernie are a couple, others behind the show deny the couple are involved in a romantic relationship.
Frank Oz, the puppeteer behind Bert, said in a statement on Twitter that Bert and Ernie are not gay, despite Saltzman insisting they are.
âIt appears that Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert and Ernie were gay. It’s good that he thinks they are. They are not, of course, âOz wrote.
He added, “But why this question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only homosexual? There is much more to a human being than rectitude or homosexuality.
Oz backed down to clarify that by saying they aren’t gay he didn’t mean Bert and Ernie were straight. Instead, he said the couple were just meant to be friends without emphasizing any sexual orientation.
After much debate on Twitter, he tweeted that he realized the gay couple meant a lot to a community that feels underrepresented.
Saltzman, who joined the series as a writer in 1984, said he modeled Bert and Ernie after his own gay relationship with longtime partner Arnold Glassman, whom he affectionately calls “Arnie,” in a recent interview that rocked social media.
âI always thought that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were [gay]”he told Queerty.
Saltzman continued, âI was already with Arnie when I got to Sesame Street. So I don’t think I would know how to write them any other way, but as a couple in love. I wrote sketchesâ¦ Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert and Ernie dynamic.
While Sesame Workshop took to Twitter shortly after to say that the puppets “identified as male characters” but “have no sexual orientation,” they have since deleted that tweet and issued a new statement to point out that ‘they are’ best friends ‘for’ people of all cultures and walks of life. “
âSesame Street has always stood for inclusion and acceptance. It is a place where people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome. Bert and Ernie were created to be best friends and to teach young children that people can get along with those who are very different from themselves, âthe updated release said.