The Real got real the other day when the subject of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie were revealed as homosexual.
Co-hosts Tamera Mowry and Jeannie Mai had a mini war over the subject. Mowry says she doesn’t want any of her children thinking about anything other than the lessons the PBS program explicitly relays. She drew from her own childhood experiences.
“I know that when I was watching Sesame Street as a kid, it was one of my favorite shows. I wasn’t really thinking about the genitalia and what they were doing sexually as a kid. They’re puppets,” she said. “But as a parent, I’m like, what are you teaching my child? Are you teaching my children how to love one another? Are you teaching my children how to be friendly and create amazing friendships? That’s what really matters. I don’t care if they’re brown, yellow, orange — whatever. What is the message?”
Things turned up though after Jeannie cut in and gave her opinion. “I hear what you’re saying, but I disagree because they do care. And your kids are learning,” she said before Mowry replied. “At 5 years old and at 3 years old, my daughter isn’t thinking … ” Mowry said. And then it REALLY turned up.
“Let me finish,” Mai exclaimed. “Let me finish really quick. All I’m saying is, I was that girl. I learned how to speak English … “
Frustrated, Tamera said, “I’m speaking for my kids and my experience, so you can speak from yours.”
Mai says she disagrees with Sesame Street releasing a statement contradicting the idea of Bert and Ernie being a couple when one of the voice actors made news when he claimed the two were homosexual.
“I’m just saying, Tam. For me, I had to learn from them, too. I learned watching Sesame Street how to speak English, and Bert and Ernie were my best friends,” she said. “I believed in them and I learned from them, how to have a healthy and happy relationship. I learned how that relationship works. So when Sesame Street says they’re not gay, it says to me that being gay is not OK. That’s the problem. That’s the problem with this situation.”
“There are kids out there that have two moms and have two dads and they need to see that love takes shape in all forms,” she continued. “When Bert and Ernie are together, they have potential to break down barriers.”
It looks like the two are still cool however as Tamera posted a pic of the two hugging each other and the caption, “We’re cool.”
Social media was conflicted about the initial argument with people making points for both sides.
Suddenly I'm hearing "Why do Bert and Ernie have to be defined by sexuality?" Funny, when people or characters are identified as straight, which happens about 100 thousand times a week, that's just fine. And I heard no complaints about Miss Piggy lustily chasing after Kermit.— michael musto (@mikeymusto) September 19, 2018
Just think how magical (and maybe even life-saving) it would have been for so many of us young queers if we had had a queer muppet on TV (much less two!) when we were growing uphttps://t.co/EYy4odNpM6— noah michelson (@noahmichelson) September 19, 2018
“As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work. Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay. There is a difference.”— Ryan W. Mead (@rwmead) September 23, 2018
Long story short:— Chris Evans (@notcapnamerica) September 22, 2018
Tamera said Bert and Ernie shouldn’t have sexual orientations because her kids won’t understand that
Jeannie said there may be gay children or children with gay parents watching who can relate
Tamera got bitchy and nasty.
The end. https://t.co/eCNIwckLyg
Watching @ItsTheRealTalk and cracking up how tight Tamera is at Jeannie’s comment over Bert and Ernie. It’s so obvious Tamera is now conversing with everyone at the table but Jeannie. Let’s see how this goes for the rest of the show. It must be hard going live. Good luck ladies.— Stanja Fleetwood (@fleetdevelop) September 19, 2018
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Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for The Artists Project