Bert and Ernie are finally out … a “Sesame Street” writer is confirming the iconic characters are a gay couple.
Bert and Ernie have been on the show since it started in 1969, and there’s always been speculation about the true nature of their relationship. Mark Saltzman, who joined the “Sesame Street” crew in 1984, cleared it all up by telling Queerty he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.
He says the ‘Sesame’ duo is a reflection of his own same-sex relationship and not about pushing an agenda.
Mark says he based Bert and Ernie on his relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman — Mark was Ernie and Arnold was Bert.
Of course, Bert and Ernie have shared a basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street for the last 49 years … although they’ve always slept in separate beds. Still, their chemistry — while playfully arguing and bickering — was always palpable.
Mark’s revelation might be more of a formality — the fact is, Bert and Ernie are longtime gay icons for many in the LGBT community.
Frank Oz — longtime puppeteer for the show and hands behind some of the beloved characters, including Bert — also denounced Saltzman, saying, “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.”
The company behind “Sesame Street” is responding to an ex-writer’s accusation that Bert and Ernie are a “loving couple,” and adamantly denying the puppets have any sort of sexual orientation.