Matt Schlapp calls for defunding PBS over ‘Sesame Street’ content decisions: ‘You are insane PBS’

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Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, called this week for the federal government to stop funding broadcaster PBS, pointing to the latest content decision regarding “Sesame Street.”

The children’s program announced it was adding the first Asian-American character to its cast of Muppets, a girl named Ji-Young.

“What race is Ernie is Bert? You are insane PBS and we should stop funding you,” Schlapp tweeted, implying it was unnecessary for Muppets to be racially identified. 

Other “Sesame Street” characters like Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster are all non-human creatures without races. 

Ji-Young, a Korean-American Muppet, will make her first appearance on a Thanksgiving special called “See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special” that will promote diversity and celebrate Asian-Americans.  

Ernie, a Muppet from the popular children's series

Ernie, a Muppet from the popular children’s series “Sesame Street,” appears with new character Ji-Young, the first Asian American muppet, on the set of the long-running children’s program in New York on Nov. 1, 2021. 
(Associated Press)

Schlapp’s criticism comes as the PBS show is under fire from conservatives over a pro-vaccine town hall the Muppets participated in last week. The children’s show has promoted vaccines for decades. 

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called a pro-vaccination tweet from Big Bird’s account “Government propaganda…for your 5 year old!” 

Many conservatives have called for PBS to be defunded for years, accusing the network of advocating for liberal values in its programming.

PBS relies heavily on donations but receives millions of dollars each year from the government. 


Last year, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., introduced a bill to defund PBS, claiming the network promotes an “ideology of sexual deviancy and to attack religious liberty.” 

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