Sesame Street Responds to Marriage Petition: Ernie and Bert are Not Gay, They Are Best Friends

Bert_Ernie The Sesame Workshop has responded to an online petition urging them to marry Ernie and Bert:

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.

Petition Urges Marriage for Sesame Street's Ernie and Bert [tr]


  1. JC says

    I have to call bullshit on the Sesame Street P.R. machine: Miss Piggy is a Muppet (and a puppet), and she very clearly has a sexual orientation.

  2. justme says

    This whole thing is a mix of serious and silly, but I agree that SW dropped the ball on this one.

  3. Sam says

    I can’t believe Sesame Street needed to respond to a ridiculous petition. I hope this enough to put the idea of Bert and Ernie getting married to rest. Seriously.

  4. JC says

    I would think it would be fairly safe to assume that Roosevelt Franklin’s Mother actually had MUPPET SEX at some point in order to have given birth to Roosevelt Franklin.

  5. FernLaPlante says

    Are people seriously upset by this? They are Muppets. Not everything has to be sexual or gay. If Sesame Street wants to discuss sexuality then it can create a new muppet that has two daddies or something.

  6. John says

    This world is out of control when 2 pieces of fabric are talked about as living breathing beings. Good grief.

  7. Gregv says

    The last time CTW dealt with this issue was about a decade ago, when that Wildmon idiot and his American Family Association were protesting Bert and Ernie’s “homosexual traits.”. One example used was that Bert had even mended his own shirt instead of getting a female puppet to do the sewing.
    I was very much annoyed when the response was that they are “not gay.”. To say that they have no sexual orientation is a subtle but important improvement. But I think it’s a bit undignified to even think they need to respond.

  8. Traveler J says

    Dear Sesame workshop: Puppets most certainly do have sexual orientation. Haven’t you seen Avenue Q?

  9. Andy says

    Ho, hum. Now where have I heard the “just best friend” statement before? Ah, yes. The Hollywood publicity mill when some star is spotted on a date with another star. Then a few weeks later are reports of marriage.

  10. Ben says

    OMG people leave sesame street alone why would you wanna change something like sesame street just leave it alone

  11. Artie Rimbaud says

    Not really a truthful reply. The Countess is Count von Count’s actress girlfriend, and Grundgetta the Grouch is Oscar the Grouch’s girlfriend.

  12. Kevin_BGFH says

    I always thought Bert and Ernie were child puppets, not adults. Too young to get married to anyone. Perpetually too young.

  13. Artie Rimbaud says

    @ Kevin_BGFH,

    From the Wikipedia description for Bert:

    “While clearly adults who share an apartment, Ernie and Bert have no visible means of support and no reference is made to any form of employment, income, or attempts to find work.”

    Sesame workshop is using a double standard here.

  14. Zlick says

    Oh please, the petition was cute. All sorts of petitions encouraging something someone would like to see (mostly involving Betty White, apparently) have been been floating around the internet for years.

    But the SW seriously miffed on their response when clearly Miss Piggy and other puppets of the Muppet realm have sexual orientation, even some (as pointed out above) appearing on Sesame Street.

    They should have stayed above the fray or else not be so obviously WRONG.

  15. jaragon says

    Bert and Ernie should remain innocent childhood friends there is no need to make them get married ( if you have a craving for muppet orgies go and write slash fiction)

  16. Matt says

    Frankly, I think teaching children that you can be best friends with someone who is completely different than you is a far more important lesson than teaching them that men can marry men.

  17. Randy says

    So, how do they explain the obviously straight orientation of Miss Piggy and Kermit? Aren’t they puppets too?

  18. David B. says

    I prefer to think of bert as the yellow puppet and Ernie as the orange puppet — does that make me a colorist?

  19. says

    They could have just left it at ‘they are just friends.’ Saying that their puppets don’t have sexual orientation is utterly absurd. I’m 100% positive that if I go back into the history of Sesame Street, there will be examples of puppets on the show that were married or even puppets who had ‘crushes.’ Hell, for decades, Kermit was on the show — and he certainly had a sexual orientation.

    I can understand that Sesame Street wouldn’t want to “change” characters that have been around for longer than many of us have been alive (including me), but I fundamentally disagree with the notion that Sesame Street shouldn’t tackle relationships. Sesame Street used to be a forward-thinking show that strove to further tolerance across society. There were white people, black people and puppets of all kinds, and it was important for children to see and understand that.

    It’s equally important for children to understand that there are single parents, ‘traditional’ married families, and gay or lesbian families, too. No, Sesame Street doesn’t have to be teaching a sex ed class, but they do need to strive to increase tolerance about our different kinds of families. Having a gay and/or lesbian puppet-couple on the show would be a huge boon to children today, and would be very much in tune with Sesame Street of the past.

    To be honest, I’m not so sure that Ernie and Bert weren’t once supposed to be that couple, in a day and age when the original creators figured they couldn’t get away with naming it on TV. Maybe that’s the case, maybe it isn’t, but showing a few puppets who were lesbian or gay out at dinner or talking with someone on the street about some kind of rather mundane problem, as they often do, would be a great influence on children and be much applauded by society as a whole (though, obviously not the wingers — and unfortunately, organizations are always more afraid of hate mail from the rabid rightwing than pleasing the majority of us tolerance-seeking people).

  20. Rich says

    All of the puppets on Sesame Street were designed, and their characters developed, to teach certain lessons. Sometimes their characters include romance (Miss Piggy loves Kermit), and sometimes they don’t (Grover, Big Bird). There are also Sesame Street muppets and Muppet Show/Muppet Movie muppets, and there are big differences in their characters. I’ve seen SS muppets cross over into the movies, but not the other way around, because the Show and Movie muppets seem to have more mature characters which are less appropriate for preschoolers.

    CTW was not wrong in what they said – maybe just not crystal clear. I accept that Bert and Ernie were created to teach friendship, and therefore were not assigned any sexuality, since that was not their purpose.

  21. says

    one day Sesame Street will have LGBT characters – whether they’re human or Muppet, they’ll be on the show.

    The show has ALWAYS pushed a progressive social agenda – the HIV positive Muppet “Kami” in the South African edition, and the sheer fact that the show has always been promoting racial equality, especially in a time when America was forced to Integrate.

  22. Fenrox says

    Actually you guys are all wrong. The muppets are a unique form of story, They are fully aware of their inanimate existence. That being the case they form bonds that are meaningless. So nobody gives birth, words like “mom” are just names to muppets.

    A little deep and I am not citing the episodes where they break the 4th wall and confirm my hypothesis, but, hey, it’s a bunch o muppets.

    (Also all Sesame Street puppets are muppets.)

  23. Matthew says

    Total BS. They should have just ignored this. As the first commenter pointed out, Miss Piggy very very clearly has a sexual orientation. While I think a petition to get the creators to marry Bert and Ernie is ridiculous at best, you can’t just come out with a response like that and expect people to be satisfied with it. Better to have just kept quite about the whole thing.