It seemed that Bert had confirmed what people had been speculating about for years.
In June, Bert issued a tweet, coming from the official Sesame Street workshop Twitter account saying: "Ever notice how similar my hair is to Mr T’s? The only difference is mine is a little more ‘mo’, a little less ‘hawk’.”
Seems innocent enough, right?
Maybe not. Many took Bert’s use of the word "mo” to mean that Bert (who admittedly has shared a bedroom with best friend Ernie for the past 30+ years) was slyly coming out of the closet, or at least winking in that direction, by way of in-joke for Sesame Street’s legion of adult fans.
"The people at Sesame Street are way too clever for their own good” wrote Ed Kennedy of the gay pop culture site AfterElton.com at the time, after noticing that Bert’s ‘admission’ came smack dab in the middle of Gay Pride celebrations in the US.
"Being sent right in the middle of Pride Month, it seemed like a fun coded message to us ‘mos, and one that I was happy to pick up on.”
Apart from that mention however, the tweet went relatively ignored by the rest of the world until it was picked up by The Los Angeles Times last month.
What has followed can only be described as a full-blown Bertgate, with the Sesame Workshop issuing a statement implying that Bert’s tweet was about hairstyles and hairstyles only.
"Sesame Street is not consciously trying to appeal to gay viewers,” said Sesame Workshop’s vice president of Corporate Communications, Ellen Lewis to The Los Angeles Times.
"We’ve always reached out to a variety of actors and athletes and celebrities to appear on the show, and our programming has always appealed to adults as much as children. Honestly, the idea that anyone would interpret [this season] that way never crossed our minds.”
For more on the long-running rumours, visit the Muppet Wiki at tinyurl.com/bertrumours