Sesame Street producers have responded to an online campaign urging characters Bert and Ernie to come out of the closet and get married by insisting that the pair are “not gay, but simply very good friends”.
Fans of the show began the petition following the legalisation of gay marriage in New York.
A statement at the top of the campaign reads: “We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful by allowing Bert and Ernie to marry. It can be done in a tasteful way.”
“Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.”
But Sesame Workshop – the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street – have issued a response assuring fans that the pair have ‘no sexual orientation’.
“Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the statement read. “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.”