A new debate about the relationship status of Sesame Street’s Ernie and Bert has taken off on social media following a statement by Mark Saltzman, the writer behind both characters, saying that he based them on his own gay relationship. Others involved in the show however say the pair are just good friends and ask, “Does it really matter?”. Gavino Garay reports.
(CBS) – Bert and Ernie — two characters many will remember from their childhood as best friends on TV.
Now, former Sesame Street writer and emmy winner Mark Saltzman says they were more than just friends, telling “Queerty” that the characters are a gay couple, based on his relationship with partner, ARNIE.
The claim has reignited years-long speculation about Bert and Ernie’s relationship status.
Frank Oz, who’s credited with creating and giving voice to Bert in 1969 responded to Saltzman, saying the characters are nothing more than best friends.
Production house, Sesame Workshop, agrees.
In a tweet Tuesday, Oz said:
“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?”
Well, to many it DOES matter. Social media lighting up with LGBTQIA advocates saying authorial intent is important.
Critics ask why it’s okay for Kermit and Miss Piggy to have romantic feelings for each other but not Bert and Ernie.
Oz says that when a character is gay, it should be known. He says it’s also important for a character NOT created gay to be accepted as such.
Sesame Street has featured a character with HIV and another with autism over the years….although Bert and Ernie remain among the street’s best loved residents,
no matter what their status may be.
Associated LinksSESAME WORKSHOPSesame StreetBertErnieEnglish-language filmsSesame Street international co-productionsChristmas Eve on Sesame StreetPop culture influenced by Sesame Street