Sesame Street Press Release - D
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 98 17:37:39 -0800
Subject: Sesame Street Press Release - D
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NEW YORK--A spokesperson for the letter D announced Monday that the
consonant is withdrawing sponsorship from Sesame Street following a
Children's Television Workshop announcement that a homosexual muppet will
soon join the show's cast.
"The letter D is proud to have brought you many wonderful Sesame Street
episodes throughout the program's 28-year history," said Patricia Willis,
public-relations director for D. "But the letter D does not condone the
sort of morally questionable lifestyles that Sesame Street is advocating
with the introduction of this new character. It can no longer in good
conscience associate itself with the show."
Willis said D's withdrawal is effective immediately, and applies to both
capital and lower-case versions of the letter.
The gay muppet, "Roger," will be introduced on Sesame Street Dec. 23, CTW
director Leslie Charren said.. Thus far, no other sponsors have pulled out,
though the number seven has requested an advance tape of the episode before
it makes a decision.
Many public-television insiders believe D's withdrawal was motivated by a
desire not to alienate religious conservatives, a section of the population
that employs the letter frequently.
"D is for, among other things, demagoguery, dogma and doctrine, words
crucial to right-wing groups like the Christian Coalition," said Yale
University political-science professor J. Wright Franklin. "It is likely
that D felt it could ill afford to offend such a large segment of its
While a long-term replacement for D has not yet been secured by Sesame
Street, the number three will temporarily fill in for it in a number of
the show's animated shorts. Other pieces will simply skip from C to E, with
vocalists stretching out C into two syllables to match the rhythm of the
Sesame Street is stung by the sudden departure of its longtime supporter.
Speaking to reporters, cast member Cookie Monster said:
"Me disappointed letter D choose to end relationship with Sesame Street
due to pressure from extremely vocal minority. We accused of endorsing
deviant lifestyle. Me say homosexuality natural, not immoral. Diversity
and enrichment. That good enough for me."
© 1998 Peter Langston