Don’t mess with Big Bird.
As if the Twittersphere backlash to Mitt Romney’s presidential debate promise to cut federal funding to PBS—and by extension, Sesame Street—were not enough, Peter Schube, president and chief operating officer of The Jim Henson Co., also pushed back.
During an Advertising Week panel discussion in New York today, co-moderator Paul Lavoie of Taxi gave Schube an opening to vent, asking simply, “Um, has Romney helped Big Bird?”
A visibly agitated Schube, a 24-year veteran of The Jim Henson Co., noted an opinion column that took Romney to task for his remark and then proceeded to defend the honor of the feathered yellow icon. Clearly, he had been down this road before.
“Sesame Street and the Muppets are such an iconic set of figures in our culture,” Schube said. “They’re constantly brought into the frame and are beaten roughly around the head and neck. And then they emerge unscathed because they’re the most sympathetic characters imaginable that exist.
“I can’t think of any characters that are as well known as those and are as universally well regarded and loved,” Schube added. “You know, there’s no back story to that. So, I think he looks stupid, and Big Bird will survive Mitt Romney.”
Schube’s retort triggered a brief burst of applause and a shout out from the audience that he repeated back.
“'Go Big Bird' is right,” he said.