The comments came days after former "Sesame Street" writer Mark Saltzman gave a much different answer to the same question.
"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were," Saltzman, who wrote for the show in the mid '80s through the late '90s, said in an article published Sunday by gay news site Queerty. "I didn't have any other way to contextualize them."
Saltzman said he drew from experiences with his own partner, Arnold Glassman, while writing some of the sketches. Glassman died in 2003.
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"I don't think I'd know how else to write them but as a loving couple," Saltzman added.
Saltzman's comments quickly went viral on social media, drawing both praise and criticism.
Frank Oz, who created Bert, soon offered his own take.
"It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay," Oz tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "It's fine that he feels they are. They're not, of course. 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."
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Saltzman later told The New York Times that his remarks to Queerty had been misunderstood.
"As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work," he told the Times.
"Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay," he added. "There is a difference."
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