Matt Schlapp Faces Backlash After Criticizing PBS for Introducing Asian-American Muppet

Matt Schlapp Faces Backlash After Criticizing PBS for Introducing Asian-American Muppet matt schlapp sits onstage at cpac Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, during the Conservative Political Action Conference 2020 (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union on Feb. 28, 2020, in National Harbor, Maryland. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Zoe Papadakis | Thursday, 18 November 2021 10:21 AM

Matt Schlapp, a political activist and chair of the American Conservative Union, has been slammed after calling out "Sesame Street" producer PBS for introducing an Asian-American muppet to the kids show.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Schlapp suggested the broadcaster be defunded after it announced the latest addition to its cast.

"What race is Ernie is Bert? You are insane PBS and we should stop funding you," Schlapp wrote in his tweet which included a link to an Associated Press report about the new Asian-American character Ji-Young, which was the result of discussions held following the death of George Floyd in 2020, and a rise in incidents of hate speech and crimes against Asians

It was not long before backlash arose over his comments.

"I'm not a shrink, but if I had to define insanity it would be a grown man demanding to know the race of fictional characters made of styrofoam and felt," one Twitter user replied.

"Bert and Ernie were created 50 years ago. Society, and the needs of children have completely changed since then. It seems unnecessarily cruel to actively wish to deprive children of finally having role models that look like them. Does this even effect your life in any way?" another tweeted in reference to the muppet characters Bert and Ernie.

"Are you seriously DNA testing muppets?" a third chimed in.

In an Associated Press article, Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of Creative and Production for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the long-running television series, explained that Ji-Young will not only introduce her friends to Korean culture, but she will also help teach children how to be a good "upstander," which Stallings said is someone who points out things "that are wrong or something that someone does or says that is based on their negative attitude towards the person because of the color of their skin or the language they speak or where they’re from."

"We want our audience to understand they can be upstanders," she noted.

Original Article