‘Sesame Street’ Says Characters Don’t Have Sexual Orientations, Even If Writer Claims Bert and Ernie Are Gay

IndieWire | 9/18/2018 | Staff
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According to Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” Bert and Ernie are still just friends. On Tuesday, Sesame Workshop released an official statement via Twitter, following comments by former “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman. An out gay man himself, Saltzman wrote for “Sesame Street” from 1985 to 1998. In a recent interview with Queerty, Saltzman likened his relationship with his late partner to the relationship between Bert and Ernie, and said many of their friends and colleagues did as well.

“I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them,” Saltzman said. As the couple’s jokester, Saltzman was Ernie, while his partner, the film editor Arnold Glassman, reminded him of Bert. “It was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to ‘Sesame Street.’ 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 & Ernie dynamic.”

Saltzman - Fans - Show - Sesame - Workshop

Although Saltzman confirmed what many fans of the show have long suspected and joked about, Sesame Workshop swiftly squashed the rumors. “As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” reads the official statement. “Even though they are identified as male and have many human traits and characteristics (as most...
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