Sesame Street executive: Bert and Ernie are gay if you want them to be

Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, who are said by many to be gay, ride the "Music Makes us Family" float in the 116th Tournament Of Roses Parade on January 1, 2005

Sesame Street executive Brown Johnson has said that Bert and Ernie are gay if fans think they are.

The executive vice president of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit which created Sesame Street, told The Hollywood Reporter: “People can think whatever they want [about Bert and Ernie].”

“You want to think they’re gay? Okay. You want to think they’re not gay? They’re not gay,” added Johnson, who has won Emmy Awards for her work on Sesame Street and Nick Jr. cartoon Little Bill.

Are Bert and Ernie a couple?

Fans have long speculated over the sexuality of Sesame Street pair Bert and Ernie, two male puppets who live together.

This theory came to a head in September 2018, when gay Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman told Queerty: “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.”

He also revealed that some people in his social circle referred to him and his partner, film editor Arnold Glassman, as Bert and Ernie.

“They are two guys who love each other. That’s who they are.”

Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman

The comments led to an extraordinary statement from Sesame Workshop, which insisted the pair were only “friends,” adding: “Even though they are identifiable as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics, they remain puppets, and have no sexual orientation.”

Saltzman responded to the furore by downplaying his original remarks. Speaking to The New York Times, he said: “As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work.

“Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay. There is a difference.”

Saltzman added: “They are two guys who love each other. That’s who they are.”

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