It’s not a surprising thing nowadays to see celebrities come out, finally opening up about their sexuality. But, every once-in-a-while certain LGBTQ fan theory gets a positive nod from official sources. And this time it was the former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzman, who dropped the bomb on his interview to the lifestyle publication Queerty.
Saltzman, who started writing for the children’s show in 1984, revealed that the iconic characters Bert and Ernie were a gay couple.
— Kati 🖖🏻 (@Keet67) September 18, 2018
“I always felt that, without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were (gay). I didn’t have any other way to contextualise them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie and I as ‘Bert and Ernie’,” he told Queerty, “I was Ernie. 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 organisation?”
— Queerty (@Queerty) September 16, 2018
He added: “So it was the Bert and 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.
“Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert and Ernie dynamic. That’s what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate?”
Yes of course Ernie and Bert are a couple. Maybe we lose something by blatantly saying it though – they're a living relic from another time when winks and nudges were very subversive. The original writers were geniuses.
— Matthew Denby (@MrMattDenby) September 18, 2018
Though the LGBTQ community is welcoming the big reveal with open hands, the claim brought a categorical denial from the organisation behind the children’s show, stating: “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”.
Please see our statement below regarding Bert and Ernie. pic.twitter.com/6r2j0XrKYu
— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) September 18, 2018