Today’s episode of “Sesame Street” is brought to you by the letters STD.
The makers of a new, at-home testing service for people with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases has been using Bert and Ernie in a campaign to promote their company.
“Help us take STD Testing out of the Stone Age,” the company, Matley, writes on Facebook, in a post accompanied by a picture of the famous Sesame Street duo.
— Lisa Gutierrez (@LisaGinKC) May 4, 2016
The show has claimed for years that Bert and Ernie were simply buddies, but that didn’t stop the New York-based developers from using the pair to help raise money and promote their services, which appear to be aimed at homosexual males.
The pals — long rumored to be lovers — can be seen in the Facebook post looking at a set of papers, with Bert taken aback.
“See Ernie, you’ve got nothing to worry about, everything is positive!” a caption reads.
Along with the ad, Matley linked to an Indiegogo fundraising page, which is currently seeking $500,000 in donations.
The decision to use the Sesame Street characters didn’t sit too well with show.
“The Mately ad is an unauthorized, unlicensed use of our characters,” Elizabeth W. Fishman, Vice President of Strategic Communications, told The Post.
“We will be contacting Mately and the appropriate parties with a cease and desist letter instructing them to take this down.”
Realizing they were wrong, the company eventually removed the image and issued a statement.
“We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone or if any images were use inappropriately,” said Brandon Greenberg, CEO of Mately. “This was inspired from an image that was obtained from a meme circulating around social media. This was by no means part of an advertising campaign intended to tarnish the Sesame Street brand, but we recognize the issue and all versions of this image have been removed from all Mately websites and social media pages.”
The company, which was founded by Greenberg, describes itself as a monthly-subscription-based STD testing service “combining home collection, lab testing, and dating app integration.”
They are currently reserving $30-a-month memberships online, but have yet to begin accepting samples.