Sesame Street has consistently refused to disclose whether the famed puppet roommates Bert and Ernie are homosexuals. Evidently, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” works just fine on Sesame Street, but the U.S. military needs to make sexual orientation an issue.
However, though Sesame Street has refrained from telling kids that the beloved puppets are homosexual puppets, a company has appropriated the image of the duo in an advertisement claiming that Ernie has an STD.
In a Facebook post by Matley, a company which produces at-home STD testing kits, the company included a picture of the famed puppet duo reviewing the results of a positive STD test.
“Help us take STD Testing out of the Stone Age,” the company writes in the Facebook post which includes a picture of the duo scrutinizing papers and Bert remarking to Ernie, “See Ernie, you’ve got nothing to worry about, everything came back positive!”
Because Herpes is fun and cute when we’re talking about puppets, evidently…
Reportedly, the move is not sitting too well with those who own the rights to Bert and Ernie’s image.
“The Mately ad is an unauthorized, unlicensed use of our characters,” Elizabeth W. Fishman, Vice President of Strategic Communications, stated.
“We will be contacting Mately and the appropriate parties with a cease and desist letter instructing them to take this down.”
“We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone or if any images were use inappropriately,” said Matley CEO Brandon Greenberg. “This was inspired from an image that was obtained from a meme circulating around social media. This was by no means part of an advertising campaign intended to tarnish the Sesame Street brand, but we recognize the issue and all versions of this image have been removed from all Mately websites and social media pages.”
Mately’s prompt response, however, might not be good enough. While this author cannot contend to be a legal scholar, it would seem logical to presume that Mately may be looking at a future that includes paying damages. It seems clear that a company cannot use copyrighted characters to sell their products, especially when the nature of such products being seemingly endorsed can inarguably tarnish the brand image of the characters.
What this whole episodes underscores, however, is a deeper descent into filthy societal behavior. Sexuality is not a bad thing, but like so many other subjects, there is a time and place for it. Using children’s characters to promote STD kits is not only a bad business decision, but the kind of sleazy decision that is emblematic of a culture willing to continually push the boundaries of common decency.
In this day and age where calls for a modicum of modesty are labeled as “slut shaming” and asking that children not be bombarded with sexual topics is “prudishness,” it’s hardly surprising to see that we’ve taken yet another step towards complete cultural destruction.