The makers of Sesame Street have made it clear that long-time “roommates” Bert and Ernie — who have shared a charming pied-à-terre on the eponymous block since the late 1960s — aren’t just not gay for each other, they don’t even have a sexual orientation. Period. They’re puppets, duh.
So, why would they need to get tested for STDs?
They wouldn’t, and that — not to mention intellectual property law — is why the Sesame Workshop has threatened at-home HIV test maker Mately with a cease and desist letter for the unauthorized and unlicensed use of the characters in a recent ad.
“We will be contacting Mately and the appropriate parties with a cease and desist letter instructing them to take this down,” a spokesperson for Sesame Workshop told TMZ.
Mately has since removed the ad from its website, saying the company never intended to “tarnish the Sesame Street brand.” However, it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume that the felt-and-fuzz residents of Sesame Street might need to know their HIV status. Takalani Sesame and Sesame Square, the versions of the kids’ show that air in South Africa and Nigeria, featured HIV-positive character Kami from 2002 to 2009.
Still, despite the show’s recent controversial move to HBO, Sesame Street is obviously as firmly in denial about Bert and Ernie as your grandmother is about your 55-year-old bachelor uncle and his “roommate” Topher.