Sesame Street is pushing back against claims that beloved characters Bert and Ernie are gay and in a same-sex relationship — even though that’s how they were once written.
In an interview with Queerty, Mark Saltzman — a writer for Bert and Ernie — says he modeled the characters after his own same-sex relationship when he joined the Sesame Street team in 1984.
Apparently the people over at Sesame Street today didn’t like that and are insisting that Bert and Ernie are just best friends.
They issued a statement that reads as follows:
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.
Frank Oz, longtime puppeteer for the show also says Bert and Ernie are just friends.
“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. 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.”
At the end of the day — does it really matter?