‘Sesame Street’ Denies Bert and Ernie Are Gay

After a former Sesame Street scribe said he wrote Bert and Ernie “as a loving couple,” Sesame Workshop, the education organization behind the children’s program, issued a statement proclaiming that the beloved characters “do not have a sexual orientation.” “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,” the statement read. “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street puppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.” Mark Saltzman, who wrote scripts and songs for Sesame Street, said in an interview published earlier this week that Bert and Ernie were inspired by his own relationship with film editor Arnold “Arnie” Glassman. “I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as ‘Bert & Ernie,’” Saltzman said. “I was Ernie. I look more Bert-ish. And Arnie as a film editor—if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street.”