The May 19 re-run episode of Sesame Street featured a guest spot by Ellen DeGeneres, who had made other appearances on the children's show throughout the past season, according to GLAAD. In upcoming months, Children's Television Workshop (CTW), the show's producers, plans to re-run five more of the episodes in which she is featured.
When the repeat broadcast was aired on the 19th, following DeGeneres' highly publicized coming out, a number of people contacted CTW, criticizing them for including an openly lesbian celebrity as a role model in a children's show. CTW responded in a statement, saying that "although we respect the rights of parents who differ with us, Children's Television Workshop believes that all the celebrities we have on Sesame Street are appropriate role models. Their function is to both educate and give children a positive self-image. For 29 years, Children's Television Workshop has believed in the inclusion of all different people on our show. We continue to believe in and support that."
By continuing to air DeGeneres' skits and publicly support her as a role model for youngsters everywhere, Children's Television Workshop is telling parents and children that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are part of the fabric of our diverse society and that we are as deserving of respect and admiration as our heterosexual counterparts, GLAAD said.
GLAAD encourages people to thank Children's Television Workshop and PBS for their support of Ellen DeGeneres and of our community, and for their continued inclusion of a diverse array of people in their programming.
Send words of encouragement to David Britt, President, Children's Television Workshop, at firstname.lastname@example.org.