'Sesame Street': Bert and Ernie are 'best friends' and nothing more
After days of not commenting on the widely-circulated online petition encouraging the "Sesame Street" roommates to marry, Sesame Workshop issued a statement. And it appears there won't be any nuptials, and, worse yet, the two aren't even dating.
"Bert and Ernie are best friends," the company writes on their Facebook page. "Even though they are identified as male characters ... they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."
The petition was launched by Chicago resident Lair Scott who is urging Sesame Workshop, the organization behind "Sesame Street," to allow its long-standing denizens to marry. As of Thursday (Aug. 11), the petition has received more than 5,000 signatures and volumes of media coverage.
According to petition organizers, the objective of marrying the two is to teach viewers "that homophobia is not okay. They need to know that acceptance of their fellow human beings would indeed plant a seed of peace that will reverberate throughout the world."
Questions about the sexuality of the Muppets has been brewing for years. As far back as 1980, novelist Kurt Andersen wrote in his book "The Real Thing," "Bert and Ernie conduct themselves in the same loving, discreet way that millions of gay men, women and hand puppets do."
Sesame Workshop has long been an advocate for tolerance. Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird and other Muppets participated in a 2002 public service announcement singing "We are Family," which was designed to promote acceptance and diversity. That same year, Sesame Workshop introduced a HIV-positive character in the South African and Kenyan versions of the children's program.