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CPAC President Calls For PBS To Be Defunded After 'Sesame Street' Introduces Asian-American Muppet

CPAC President Calls For PBS To Be Defunded After 'Sesame Street' Introduces Asian-American Muppet
Samuel Corum/Getty Images; PBS

Matt Schlapp, the president of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) called for PBS to be defunded after Sesame Street introduced Ji-Young, its first ever Asian-American Muppet.

In a tweet referring to popular longtime Muppet Ernie, Schlapp called PBS "insane," adding that "we should stop funding you."

PBS is funded by member station dues, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and its for-profit subsidiary National Datacast Incorporated (NDI) in addition to pledge drives and donations from both private foundations and individual citizens.

PBS has aired Sesame Street since 1970 and the inclusion of Ji-Young is just another example of the show's long tradition of respecting diversity and promoting inclusion.

Ji-Young, Sesame Street's newest resident, is a seven-year-old Korean-American girl who loves to play her electric guitar and go skateboarding.

And in a recent interview with The Associated Press, Ji-Young, who will formally be introduced in the upcoming See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special, explained her name's significance:

"So, in Korean traditionally the two syllables they each mean something different and Ji means, like, smart or wise. And Young means, like, brave or courageous and strong."
"But we were looking it up and guess what? Ji also means sesame."

Many have accused Schlapp of racism and reminded him that Ji-Young's inclusion is simply Sesame Street doing what it does best.

Schlapp's outburst is only the latest instance of conservative pushback against Sesame Street.

Earlier this month, Republicans lashed out when Sesame Street's Big Bird announced on Twitter that he'd been vaccinated.

In a tweet, Big Bird said that while his "wing is feeling a little sore," he knows the vaccine will give his "body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy."

Big Bird's announcement soon drew the ire of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has often been criticized for downplaying the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cruz claimed that the tweet was evidence of "Government propaganda... for your 5 year old," a claim echoed by other prominent Republican politicians and commentators, particularly those on Fox News.

Unfortunately, Big Bird wasn't the only Muppet to face blowback from conservatives who've railed against COVID-19 vaccines.

Over the weekend, Elmo, everyone's favorite furry red monster, was criticized after announcing that he and other cast members of Sesame Street had met with neurosurgeon and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss COVID-19 vaccines during a CNN town hall.