Sesame Street writer says his Bert and Ernie 'gay' comments were misinterpreted

The Sesame Street writer who reportedly claimed he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple says that's not what he meant.

Screenwriter Mark Saltzman, himself a gay man, told LGBT news website Queerty they were a "loving couple" and he based their relationship on his own.

"That's what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert."

But he's now told The New York Times that didn't mean Bert was Ernie's favourite rubber ducky.

"As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work," he told the paper. "Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay."

He said if Sesame Street was to get a gay couple, they should be human - not Muppet.

Frank Oz, who created Bert and Ernie, said they were not gay - but it doesn't matter.

"But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness."