Former Sesame Street writer: Yes, Bert and Ernie are gay
SESAME STREET — A former Sesame Street writer says he can confirm what some fans of the show have believed for years: Bert and Ernie are gay.
Mark Saltzman, who spent 15 years as a writer for The Muppets and Sesame Street, told the LGBTQ lifestyle website Queerty that the Street’s most famous roommates are more than just friends.
The news was picked up and posted by People magazine.
“I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked ‘Are Bert and Ernie lovers?’ That coming from a preschooler was fun, and that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it,” Saltzman told the outlet.
“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 contextualize them.”
Saltzman compared his relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman to the characters. He and Glassman were together for more than 20 years before Glassman passed away in 2003.
Yeah, I was Ernie,” Saltzman told Queerty. “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.”
But hours after the story surfaced online, Sesame Workshop issued a statement denying Saltzman’s claim.