Quantcast
Connect with us

Sesame Street creators face backlash for axing three remaining original cast members

Published

on

It looks as if there will be even more changes to Sesame Street’s neighborhood as the longtime beloved children’s show recently announced that it will cut its three oldest cast members, drawing ire and accusations of ageism on social media.

The Guardian reported Thursday that the widespread criticism of the show’s decision came after Bob McGrath told the audience at the comic convention, Florida Supercon, earlier this month that he, Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman were fired from the series as a result of its move to HBO last summer. McGrath’s comments about the show letting he and his fellow cast members go surfaced online Tuesday, The Guardian wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an interview with the San Francisco-based radio station KQED, McGrath, who has played Bob the music teacher on Sesame Street since 1969, said that the children’s show “has gone under a major turnaround” in the 45 years sine the actor was hired, with HBO’s involvement causing the program to cut its running time by half an hour.

“And they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young,” McGrath told KQED.

The Guardian noted that McGrath was one of the few original cast members who remained on Sesame Street, having joined the program the year it started. Emilio Delgado joined the cast two years later as Fix-It Shop owner Luis, and in 1974, Roscoe Orman replaced the two previous actors who played Gordon, a teacher and one of the neighborhood’s original residents in the show.

On Thursday, Sesame Workshop, the creators and owners of the popular children’s program, released a statement on Twitter in response to the criticism surrounding McGrath’s, Delgado’s and Orman’s axing. Sesame Workshop said the three actors remained “a beloved part of the Sesame family,” but noted that the owners are “are constantly evolving our content and curriculum, and hence, our characters, to meet the educational needs of children.”

Sesame Workshop added that it “retains sole creative control over the show,” and that HBO was not to blame for the firings, The Guardian wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Practicality may be more of a factor in canning the three longtime cast members than outright ageism, as Forbes’ Ellen Killoran suggested in her entertainment column on Thursday. McGrath is 84, Killoran wrote, and there is a possibility that either he or the other two aging actors would die half-way through the season. But as Killoran pointed out, Sesame Street has a history of handling the deaths of cast members with grace:

“When Will Lee, who played beloved shop owner Mr. Hooper, died in 1982, Sesame Street writers chose to use his passing as a teaching moment rather than recast him. The episode about Mr. Hooper’s death, which aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983, is considered one of Sesame Street’s most moving and memorable episodes.”

But regardless of the reasoning behind the decision, Sesame Workshop’s firing of three of its oldest cast members drew considerable outrage on Twitter and the blogosphere alike, with several of the show’s fans making satirical references to the ongoing “gentrification” of Sesame Street’s neighborhood.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Onion’s pop culture news site, the A.V. Club, was among those who delivered the most searing criticism of Sesame Street’s decision, suggesting that the show’s owners will use their new platform on HBO to steer impressionable children away from “outdated terms like ‘job stability’ or ‘common good.'” Regarding the allegations of ageism against McGrath and his peers, A.V. Club suggested Sesame Workshop treated him like an “aging uncle” with cataracts.

“Of course, this would still be secondary to the collision of demands for profits in the ostensibly non-profit world of public broadcasting,” A.V. Club wrote, “but given that one-half of the country’s two major political parties think any recipients of government funds are lazy ‘takers’ leeching off the hard work of benevolent narcissists, it’s surprising a bulldozer wasn’t taken to McGrath’s home on the magical street long ago.”

ADVERTISEMENT

 


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Two House Democrats push a clever plan that calls Republicans’ bluff on their Biden attacks

Published

on

Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Max Rose of New York introduced a clever plan this week that will expose whether Republicans’ criticisms of former Vice President Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal reflect good faith — or if, as many assume, they are just a shameful distraction and a bluff.

The lawmakers announced a bill on Wednesday called the Transparency in Executive Branch Officials’ Finances Act. It has two key components:

First, it would require all politically appointed executive branch officials, as well as the president and the vice president, to “disclose any positions they or any members of their extended families hold with foreign-owned businesses, any intellectual property they own that is protected or enforced by a foreign country, and whether any members of their families have stakes in companies that engage in significant foreign business dealings.”Second, it will “require the President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns for the previous five taxable years and prohibit political appointees from accepting payments from foreign entities.”

What’s clever about the proposal is that it latches on to two important issues, creating a wedge for Republicans. As part of the GOP’s defense of President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans have argued that the president’s patently corrupt efforts to get a foreign country to investigate Biden, a political rival, were legitimate because the former vice president’s son created a conflict of interest by taking part in business in Ukraine.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Nancy Pelosi praised as ‘the only serious national leader’ in America — and Trump is ‘jealous’

Published

on

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was praised on Thursday for her leadership as she directed the House of Representatives to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

MSNBC's anchor Nicolle Wallace played a clip of the Speaker's press conference, where Pelosi strongly replied after a question on whether she hated Trump that was asked by James Rosen, who works for the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting network.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Contracts show how Giuliani-backed lawyers planned to help fired Ukraine prosecutor get revenge on Biden

Published

on

Newly revealed contracts obtained by the Daily Beast show that two lawyers backed by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani explicitly promised to help fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin regain his reputation by digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

A contract written up by attorney Victoria Toensing this past April stated that Shokin would agree to pay Toensing and her husband, fellow attorney Joseph diGenova, $125,000 "for the purpose of collecting evidence regarding [Shokin’s] March 2016 firing as Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the role of then-Vice President Joe Biden in such firing, and presenting such evidence to U.S. and foreign authorities."

Continue Reading