“Sesame Street” is in the middle of a controversy over age discrimination after firing three of its original cast members.
Bob McGrath, who played Bob; Emilio Delgado, who played Luis; and Roscoe Orman, who played Gordon, won’t be back for the upcoming season of the PBS and HBO children’s show.
Variety reported that McGrath broke the news at a recent convention. In his statement, McGrath appears to insinuate that “Sesame Street” let them go because of their age.
“As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year,” McGrath said. “And the show has gone under a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half-hour. HBO has also gotten involved.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.”
During Thursday’s Television Critics Association press tour, TheWrap reported that PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said that the decision to terminate the actors was made by the producer of “Sesame Street,” Sesame Workshop, and that PBS didn’t find out about it until afterward.
Earlier on Thursday, Sesame Workshop released a statement distancing HBO from the decision to fire the actors. The show’s producers also said that the actors would continue to represent “Sesame Street” and potentially appear in future productions.
Read the statement below:
“Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado (‘Luis’) and Roscoe Orman (‘Gordon’) remain a beloved part of the ‘Sesame’ family and continue to represent us at public events. To us, and for millions of people worldwide, they are a treasured part of ‘Sesame Street.’ Since the show began, we are constantly evolving our content and curriculum, and hence, our characters, to meet the educational needs of children. As a result of this, our cast has changed over the years, though you can still expect to see many of them in upcoming productions. As we’ve stated previously, Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show. HBO does not oversee the production.”