‘Sesame Street’ introduces autistic character days after Trump’s budget threat (VIDEOS)
The show posted images on Twitter of its new character, Julia – an orange haired, rabbit-loving, autistic four year old, set to grace screens next month.
The latest addition to the ‘Sesame Stree’t family was introduced to viewers on CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ on Sunday.
One of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro said: "I think the big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this? How do we talk about autism?'"
Julia’s debut episode will show how autism can appear in social situations as she ignores Big Bird on their first meeting, causing him to believe she doesn’t like him. However, the ‘Sesame Street’ crew explain to him that Julia has autism and sometimes does things differently.
"I would love her to be not ‘Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism’, I would like her to be just Julia," Ferraro said.
With its 1st Julia ep, Sesame Street hopes to deliver a message of inclusion. Elmo: We really like Julia. She’s really special to us.” pic.twitter.com/UpgbMQr1pt— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 20, 2017
The character was developed after years of consultation with families, organizations and experts within the autism community, Sesame Workshop's Senior Vice-President of US Social Impact Jeanette Betancourt said.
The news has been welcomed by many who hope the character will educate children on the condition.
this is why sesame street is the best they are adding a new character who has autism and its unique— Gianna♡ (@casualvices) March 20, 2017
On April 10th, Sesame Street will introduce Julia to its show. She has autism, like 1 in 68 children in the US.— Taylor Walden (@jt_walden) March 20, 2017
Representation is cool. pic.twitter.com/Z8lCeWJsgv
I'm watching this news story on how sesame street now has a character with autism and I'm crying because this is so important and awesome.— satan eitel (@unicorngutss) March 20, 2017
Concerns over the future of ‘Sesame Street’ caused a furore online last week after President Trump announced plans to cut public broadcasting funding.
At this rate Sesame Street's next few episodes will be "Trump Deports Elmo," "Big Bird's Big Sex Change," and "W is for White Privilege"— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 20, 2017
If Trump wants to cut funds for PBS he can pry Sesame Street from my cold, dead hands— Perry (@perryan13) March 16, 2017
Big Bird and Sesame Street are multi-million dollar media and toy industries, why are they still on the government dole? @POTUS— ✞♕In God I Trust♕✞ (@InGodIDoTrust) March 16, 2017
If liberals are so upset abt losing Big Bird & Ernie, get George Soros to divert some of his @MoveOn $$ to Sesame Street.— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 18, 2017
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the kids’ show, tweeted their support for PBS and CPB.
Please see our following statement regarding federal funding for public broadcasting. pic.twitter.com/Nu5imHJZWN— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) March 16, 2017
‘Sesame Street’ signed a five-year deal with HBO in 2015 after funding struggles. Under the deal, PBS reportedly pays a license fee that covers about 10 percent of the show's annual $40 million production cost. Episodes are aired on PBS nine months after they are run on HBO.