Sesame Street has addressed the relationship between its two star characters after a former writer claimed they were lovers.
In an interview with Queerty this week, Mark Salzman revealed his own relationship with another man inspired his writing of Bert and Ernie.
“I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were [a couple]” Saltzman said.
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“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,'” he said of his own relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman.
“I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple…” he said.
Following the interview, Sesame Workshop released a statement saying the characters were simply “best friends”and “do not have a sexual orientation.”
“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the statement read.
“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 Today Show (@TheTodayShow) September 18, 2018