In an exclusive interview with Queerty, Mark Saltzman, who wrote on the children’s program several times over the course of 13 years, reveals he thought of Bert and Ernie as gay when he wrote for them. He goes on to say he saw his own relationship with editor Arnold Glassman in the iconic pair.
“And 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. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie and I as ‘Bert and Ernie,’ ” Saltzman said.
“That’s what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate?” Saltzman continued. “The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert. How could it not? I will say that I would never have said to the head writer, ‘Oh, I’m writing this, this is my partner and me.’ “
Just because Saltzman has spoken his truth, don’t expect Bert and Ernie to become the grand marshals at a pride parade near you. A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop has countered Saltzman’s statement. Read it below.
Please see our statement below regarding Bert and Ernie. pic.twitter.com/6r2j0XrKYu
— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) September 18, 2018
Frank Oz, who’s a longtime puppeteer for the show, also disputes Saltman’s take.
It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. It's fine that he feels they are. They're not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness.
— Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) September 18, 2018
To read more of Saltzman’s interview, head over to Queerty.