TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A seemingly innocent post by Sesame Street icon Big Bird encouraging children to get the COVID-19 vaccine sparked controversy among some conservative figures on Twitter.
The Sesame Street icon and fictional character posted on Twitter Saturday that he got his coronavirus vaccine. This was part of a collaboration between Sesame Street and CNN, who had a town hall for families with the show’s characters, CNN journalist Erica Hill, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on COVID-19 vaccines Saturday morning.
The program coincided with the first COVID-19 vaccines being given for children between the ages of 5 and 11 this weekend.
For many people, the tweet was well received. One Twitter user even pointed out Big Bird’s history of educating children on immunization in the earlier days of the show.
However, others, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, didn’t view the Sesame Street cast’s involvement in promoting the COVID-19 vaccine quite as kindly. Cruz called Big Bird’s tweet “government propaganda…for your 5-year-old.”
The senator later tweeted Sunday afternoon poking fun at the backlash he got for the propaganda, saying liberals were triggered by Big Bird.
Cruz wasn’t the only one to speak out against Big Bird’s vaccination. Lavern Spicer, the Republican candidate for Florida’s 24th Congressional District, also condemned the town hall.
“Sanjay Gupta pushing drugs (vaccine) to kids on Sesame Street is now the cringiest most shameful thing I’ve ever seen! Why are they lying to us??!!” she wrote on Twitter.
However, Florida political strategist Ana Navarro-Cárdenas issued a statement of her own, saying the Republican politicians complaining about Big Bird are acting like 5-year-olds.
“While these bloviating outrage machines attack Sesame Street, Biden got a deal passed to build actual streets,” she said. “Also, apologies to 5-year-olds.”