Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

STD-Testing Company Removes Sesame Street Advertisements Following Lawsuit Threat

This story originally appeared on CNBC

One startup just learned the hard way not to mess with the gang from Sesame Street.

Mately, a STD-testing site and app, ruffled Big Bird's feathers earlier this week after it posted advertisements featuring Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street that suggested the pair were romantically involved, according to the BBC.

The ad, based on a viral internet meme, ran with the tag line: "See Ernie, you've got nothing to worry about, everything is positive!"

"The Mately ad is an unauthorized, unlicensed use of our characters," Sesame Workshop told the BBC. "We will be contacting Mately and the appropriate parties with a cease and desist letter instructing them to take this down.

The New York-based startup removed the image from its website and social media pages shortly after.

"We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone or if any images were use inappropriately," said Brandon Greenberg, CEO of Mately, in a statement. "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."

Sesame Workshop declined to comment further.

Read the full report from the BBC.

John Lamparski | Getty Images

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks