“Sesame Avenue” writer Mark Saltzman says his feedback that he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple based mostly on his personal same-sex relationship have been misinterpreted.
“As a writer, you simply carry what you realize into your work,” he advised The New York Occasions on Tuesday. “One way or the other, within the uproar, that changed into Bert and Ernie being gay. There’s a distinction.”
He additionally stated that the present ought to embody gay characters, however that they need to be people and not puppets. He additionally didn’t refute the very fact that Bert and Ernie have a deep connection.
“They are two guys who love one another,” Saltzman stated. “That’s who they are.”
Saltzman, who joined the present as a writer in 1984, kicked off a furor when he advised Queerty that the connection between the 2 puppets was modeled on his personal with long-time accomplice Arnold Glassman.
“And I at all times felt that with out an enormous agenda, once I was writing Bert & Ernie, they have been [gay],” Saltman stated within the interview. “I didn’t have another method to contextualize them. The opposite factor was, a couple of particular person referred to Arnie & I as Bert & Ernie.”
His feedback ricocheted across the web with many seeing it as affirmation of the puppets’ subversive, same-sex relationship. Frank Oz, the famed puppeteer who helped create Bert’s character, went on Twitter to close down claims that the characters are gay.
“It appears Mr. Mark Saltzman was requested if Bert & Ernie are gay. It’s high-quality that he feels they are,” he stated. “They’re not, in fact. However why that query? Does it actually matter? Why the necessity to outline individuals as solely gay?”
Sesame Workshop additionally launched an announcement on Twitter saying that Bert and Ernie wouldn’t have sexual orientations.
“As we now have at all times stated, Bert and Ernie are finest pals,” the assertion learn. “They have been created to show preschoolers that individuals could be good pals with those that are very totally different from themselves. Although they are recognized as male characters and possess many human traits and traits (as most Sesame Avenue Muppets do), they continue to be puppets, and wouldn’t have a sexual orientation.”