The speculation swirling around “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie have caused debate on whether the puppets are simply roommates or have a romantic relationship.
In September, “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman, who is openly gay, said he based Bert and Ernie’s relationship on his own romantic relationship with another man.
Sesame Street Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that produces the children’s show, promptly released a statement on Twitter that the puppets are strictly friends.
“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. 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,” the statement read.
Now, Sesame Workshop is saying that Bert and Ernie’s relationship is up for interpretation. The Hollywood Reporter chronicled the 50th anniversary of “Sesame Street” and Brown Johnson, executive VP of Sesame Workshop, explained that Bert and Ernie’s sexuality can be whatever you want.
“You want to think they’re gay? OK,” she explained to the publication. “You want to think they’re not gay? They’re not gay.”
Sesame Workshop’s previous statement that dismissed the notion of the puppets being gay appears to have been deleted.