Sesame Street says Bert and Ernie's relationship status is not complicated

Bert and Ernie are still just roommates.In a statement, Sesame Workshop was prompted to address the f...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 8:04 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 8:05 AM

Bert and Ernie are still just roommates.

In a statement, Sesame Workshop was prompted to address the famous puppets' relationship after a former writer for "Sesame Street" said his own relationship with another man inspired his writing of the characters.

Companies

Sesame Workshop

Sex and gender issues

Society

Arts and entertainment

Children's programming

Television programming

Demographic groups

Gays and lesbians

Population and demographics

"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [gay]," Mark Saltzman, who worked for the preschooler program for 15 years, told Queerty in an interview. "I didn't have any other way to contextualize them."

Saltzman added that he was already with his now-late partner of 20 years, Arnie, at the time he started with the show in 1984, "so I don't think I'd know how else to write them, but as a loving couple."

"I wrote sketches...Arnie's OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that's the Bert and Ernie dynamic," he said.

After the interview renewed the discussion about Bert and Ernie's relationship, Sesame Workshop issued a statement saying they were merely "best friends."

"They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves," the statement said. "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."

The company later deleted that statement and replaced it with a new one, emphasizing that "Sesame Street has always stood for inclusion and acceptance."

"It's a place where people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome," the new statement read.

Frank Oz, a puppeteer and longtime collaborator of Muppets creator Jim Henson, who died in 1990, also chimed in on Twitter.

"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," he said. "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."

He added in one reply: "I created Bert. I know what and who he is."

His comments drew a mix of responses on Twitter, some from irate fans who shared their disappointment over what they perceived to be dismissive statements from Oz and the Sesame Workshop.

"I understand," Oz wrote to one fan. "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."

The speculation about Bert and Ernie's relationship is not new.

In 2013, the New Yorker suggested the nature of their relationship might be romantic by using a silhouette of characters in their likeness on the cover about the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

Two years earlier, a petition was circulated urging the pair to marry. At the time, Sesame Street Workshop posted a statement on its Facebook page insisting, as they did Tuesday, that the characters were just "best friends."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67857

Reported Deaths: 2975
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14710719
Lake7037269
Elkhart458276
Allen3611157
St. Joseph311479
Hamilton2489104
Cass17509
Hendricks1742105
Vanderburgh170012
Johnson1648118
Porter117439
Tippecanoe109411
Clark107545
Madison84265
LaPorte82929
Kosciusko81612
Howard80464
Marshall74222
Bartholomew73847
Floyd68444
Monroe68430
Noble63528
Delaware63352
Boone63246
Dubois62412
Hancock61637
Jackson5514
LaGrange54210
Shelby50926
Warrick50230
Grant49629
Vigo46810
Dearborn46128
Morgan41832
Henry36118
Clinton3523
White34510
Montgomery33821
Lawrence32627
Wayne3159
Decatur31332
Harrison28922
Miami2582
Scott24710
Daviess24319
Greene23834
DeKalb2214
Putnam2218
Jennings20712
Franklin20510
Jasper2032
Steuben1993
Gibson1984
Ripley1887
Perry17112
Starke1647
Orange16324
Wabash1583
Posey1570
Fayette1547
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1442
Carroll1422
Wells1312
Knox1290
Huntington1183
Washington1151
Spencer1133
Newton10910
Tipton1065
Randolph1024
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan751
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio504
Parke451
Pike450
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93031

Reported Deaths: 3529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17107514
Cuyahoga12646477
Hamilton9110247
Lucas4852318
Montgomery402477
Summit3248217
Marion287544
Butler268359
Mahoning2393253
Pickaway235242
Stark1679132
Lorain162076
Warren160035
Columbiana157060
Trumbull1421103
Fairfield123825
Delaware119418
Licking111642
Clark107613
Lake103435
Wood91058
Clermont83510
Medina83133
Miami76837
Tuscarawas74613
Portage71160
Allen64642
Greene61911
Belmont58926
Ashtabula53845
Richland53610
Geauga52843
Mercer52213
Erie51627
Wayne49258
Ross3874
Huron3714
Ottawa35225
Athens3441
Madison32910
Sandusky32917
Holmes3206
Darke31627
Hancock3152
Lawrence2160
Union2141
Auglaize2135
Jefferson2043
Washington19722
Putnam19317
Coshocton1856
Scioto1851
Muskingum1781
Knox1652
Crawford1645
Preble1642
Morrow1582
Shelby1574
Seneca1533
Hardin15012
Clinton1466
Fulton1391
Ashland1303
Defiance1294
Highland1271
Williams1233
Logan1201
Wyandot1195
Brown1121
Guernsey1106
Hocking1089
Carroll1075
Henry1061
Champaign1051
Perry1052
Fayette940
Monroe9018
Van Wert681
Pike660
Jackson650
Paulding590
Gallia571
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs240
Morgan200
Harrison191
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
Overcast
76° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 76°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
More scattered rain & storms on Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events