thumb|300px|left Rumors have long circulated that Ernie and Bert are a gay couple as seen on Sesame Street. Sesame Workshop disavows these rumors and points out that Ernie and Bert are puppets, not humans; the Workshop's official position, therefore, is that Muppet characters Ernie and Bert are simply good friends. Advocates of this position note that Ernie and Bert's bedroom contains two single beds rather than one larger bed.
In 2002, Sesame Workshop lawyers blocked further showings of the short film Ernest & Bertram by Peter Spears, in which a character based on Ernie confesses his romantic attraction to another character based on Bert.
Bert and Ernie conduct themselves in the same loving, discreet way that millions of gay men, women and hand puppets do. They do their jobs well and live a splendidly settled life together in an impeccably decorated cabinet.
- The Real Thing by Kurt Andersen, 1980 Bert and Ernie are two grown men sharing a house and a bedroom. They share clothes, eat and cook together and have blatantly effeminate characteristics. In one show Bert teaches Ernie how to sew. In another they tend plants together. If this isn't meant to represent a homosexual union, I can't imagine what it's supposed to represent.
- Reverend Joseph Chambers on his radio show, 1994 Note that no skit has ever shown either character sewing, wearing the other's clothing, or cooking. Ernie tends to his plants alone.
Bert and Ernie, who've been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future. They are puppets, not humans. Like all the Muppets created for Sesame Street, they were designed to help educate preschoolers. Bert and Ernie are characters who help demonstrate to children that despite their differences, they can be good friends.
- Sesame Workshop's consumer response prepared statement, 1993. 'They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets,' says Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell. 'They don't exist below the waist.'
- Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, p. 47.
"They're puppets. They don't exist below the waist!" - Steve Whitmire to students in a Q&A session at Carnegie Mellon University, September 10, 1997 "All that stuff about me and Bert? It's not true. We're both very happy, but we're not gay." - Ernie to students at Carnegie Mellon University, 1997 "Oh, you had to ask that question. No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck." - Bert to Spencer Howson when asked if he and Ernie are "more than just good friends" in an ABC Brisbane radio interview, March 7, 2005. (sound bite) When Michael Davis, author of the 2008 book Street Gang, was asked, "What's the biggest misconception that people have about Sesame Street that you're hoping to dispel with this book?," Davis responded, "That Bert and Ernie are gay... Certainly they [Sesame Street cast members] played to that notion and laughed about it and enjoyed speculating about Bert and Ernie, but the truth is that those characters are a projection of the real-life friendship between Jim Henson and Frank Oz."