The New Yorker’s Gay Marriage Cover: Bert and Ernie

Bert and Ernie Make New Yorker's

The New Yorker unveiled its cover issue commemorating the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage: an illustration of Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street,” cuddling in front of a TV set, watching an image of the nine justices.

The cover illustration was by Jack Hunter, who submitted his image unsolicited to a Tumblr before it was picked up by the New Yorker. “It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” he told the magazine. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.” The cover is titled “Bert and Ernie’s Moment of Joy.”

Sesame Workshop, which has control over the characters, has in the past issued denials that the characters have a sexual orientation.

“Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the workshop said in a statement issued in 2011, after rumors that Bert was about to come out of the closet. “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.”

The magazine may be on solid legal footing given court decisions protecting parody that is a comment on a copyrighted work.

A spokeswoman for Sesame Workshop did not immediately return a request for comment.

Update: Gawker reports that the artwork was originally submitted to Tumblr in May, 2012, shortly after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.

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  1. Bill Treadway says:

    Everyone forgets that when Sesame Street (and Ernie & Bert) debuted in 1969, The Odd Couple movie was still in general release around the country. Bert and Ernie are just the kiddie spoof of Felix and Oscar. That’s all.

    But then you have these yahoos who insist on applying subtext that just isn’t there. And since when are all male roommates automatically gay lovers?

    • Frank W says:

      Good catch. I was too young to notice the similarities even though I did watch the TV show later on. I remember as a kid, reading ads in my comic books for the upcoming show featuring Batman and Superman. I think I saw only one segment that contained Superman in the first year.

  2. Adam Vant says:

    Leave it to the stinking Liberals to push their pro-gay agenda by besmirching beloved sesame Street characters.

  3. blueiis0112 says:

    People impose their beliefs and values. No one believed John Lennon when he said that “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” was not based on a drug trip. A few years back Lucy died of breast cancer. The New York Times tried to make “Puff The Magic Dragon” into a drug song.

  4. Frank W says:

    Why does Bert & Ernie have to be gay? Can’t two male friends live together without being gay? (Not that there is anything wrong with that) My best friend is gay, but I’m not. Hanging around him with his gay friends, they assumed I was, but I’m not. Personally, I don’t think Bert & Ernie were ever meant to be gay but people imprinted their own conclusions upon the characters–two men living together they must be gay. Well, I think Ernie is straight but Bert is gay in denial.

  5. m says:

    It’s so discusting. They are supposed to be children.

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