“Sesame Street” makers say that Bert and Ernie “will not marry,” after an online campaign posted on change.org called the bath-loving Ernie and paperclip-collecting Bert to tie the knot.
On the show, the two are roommates, but nothing more.
“We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful,” the petition reads. “It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different.”
The petition currently has around 7,000 signatures, with more than 3,000 members of a Bert and Ernie Get Married Facebook page.
On August 12, "Bert and Ernie" topped Twitter trends, with snarky and upset comments alike. One user tweeted that the wedding of the year was off. Another said there are bigger issues at hand--namely, finding Oscar the Grouch proper housing.
Producers for the long-running PBS show were quick to overturn the petition, saying on their Facebook page that the two are just friends. “[Bert and Ernie] were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” Sesame Workshop wrote in a statement.
The show has been revolutionary in teaching children about important and often difficult issues like death, race, and self-esteem.
Since the two roommates first appeared in 1969, rumors have flown about the puppets' orientation--they share a room, but admittedly sleep in single beds. In fact, a Google search of “Bert and Ernie” then fills in with the word “gay.”
But Sesame Workshop was clear in saying they are puppets with people characteristics. “Even though the Sesame Street Muppets…possess many human traits and characteristics, they have no sexual orientation.”