(WCMH) – After years of speculation, a writer who spent 15 years working on Sesame Street has confirmed that Bert and Ernie are indeed a couple.
Writer Mark Saltzman told Queerty the two Muppets are a gay couple whose relationship is a reflection of his relationship with longtime boyfriend Arnold Glassman.
“Yeah, I was Ernie. I look more Bert-ish. 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 organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & 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. I wrote sketches…Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert & Ernie dynamic,” said Saltzman.
Saltzman said that while Bert and Ernie are a reflection of that relationship, they are not about pushing an agenda.
“I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were,” said Saltzman.
Sesame Workshop released a statement Tuesday refuting Saltzman’s claim.
As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. 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.