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While many rumors have been started about the American children's television series Sesame Street, a few have been widely propagated and perpetuated over the years.

Ernie to be killed off

In 1990, puppeteer Jim Henson's death spurred rumors that Ernie would be "killed off" in the show, much the way the character of Mr. Hooper was after actor Will Lee's passing some years earlier.[1] Rumor said that he would be either killed by a vehicle, AIDS, or cancer. There was no legitimacy to this rumor, but because producers took their time recasting a puppeteer for Ernie, the delay allowed the claims to burgeon. A spokesman for the series was quoted as saying "Ernie is not dying of AIDS; Ernie is not dying of leukemia. Ernie is a puppet".[2][3][4][5]

Plans for a gay Muppet

In 2002, Sesame Workshop announced that a character with HIV would be introduced to Takalani Sesame, the South African version of the show. Many groups wrongly presumed that the American version would be getting a "gay Muppet".[6] This concern came about presumably because of a perceived connection between homosexuality and HIV in the United States, but the character with HIV is only present on this international version of the show. The character, Kami, contracted HIV from a blood transfusion as an infant.


  1. ^ [Manchester] Union Leader "Muppet Ernie Keeps His Life." 28 July 1991 (p. F1).
  2. ^ Graham, Jefferson (1992-04-30). "Muppet Ernie Is Doing Just Fine". USA Today: p. D3.  
  3. ^ Herrmann, Brenda (1992-11-10). "Ernie Rumor Just Won't Die". Chicago Tribune: p. C1.  
  4. ^ Lender, Jon (1992-11-23). "Rest Assured, Ernie the Puppet Has Never Felt Better". Hartford Courant: p. B1.  
  5. ^ Barbara Mikkelson, Urban Legends Reference Pages: Toe Tag Ernie, December 14, 1997.
  6. ^

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