The characters from “Sesame Street” are quietly getting pulled from Pampers — and it might be because they’re mostly dudes.
In a major move this summer that hasn’t been officially announced, the world’s biggest diaper brand has quietly wiped characters like Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch from most of its diapers.
The stealthy Muppet removal was confirmed by officials at Sesame Street and Procter & Gamble — the consumer-products giant that makes Pampers. But when asked by The Post, spokespeople were cagey about the reasons.
Shoppers like Susie Wong-Benjamin — a mother of two in The Bronx who thought she had bought fake Pampers when a recent batch bore generic-looking designs — said customer service reps at P&G partly blamed the stealthy switch on gender issues when she called about it last week.
“The Pampers rep said … parents who have daughters thought that the Sesame Street characters are too masculine,” Wong-Benjamin told The Post.
Asked whether parents had complained that Sesame Street characters lack female representation, a Pampers spokeswoman dodged the question initially before saying “No” in an e-mail to The Post.
“We talk to thousands of parents every year to understand how our diapers are best meeting their babies’ needs and any new trends they might be interested in,” P&G spokeswoman Laura Dressman wrote. “We learned there was a growing desire from Moms and Dads for modern, fresh graphics.”
However, when The Post asked Sesame Street spokeswoman Beatrice Chow broadly — with no mention of gender — why Pampers was pulling Sesame Street characters, Chow responded by e-mailing a link with, she said, “details about [Pampers’] current support for our gender equality work.”
The link was to a year-old press release titled “P&G and Sesame Street partner to promote gender equality,” which highlighted the female character Chamki, “a vibrant, 5-year-old Muppet” who is featured in the Indian version of Sesame Street.
“We look forward to deepening our partnership with P&G on all fronts in the future,” Chow added.
If P&G and Sesame Street are scrambling to address complaints about gender, few of them appear to have surfaced publicly. Meanwhile, the quiet, seismic shift away from a 15-year tie-up has sparked confusion and outrage online.
“I’m convinced I got fake pampers Swaddlers from Amazon,” one miffed mother wrote on parenting blog BabyCenter in early June. Another chimed in, saying the new Pampers “have a cat on them and look fake.”
Others have voiced concerns about quality, complaining of leaks.
Dressman, the P&G spokeswoman, confirmed that Pampers has recently made other design changes, but called them “improvements,” including a “softer inner liner” and a “3-way fit design” for increased absorbency.
Not all parents are convinced. Wong-Benjamin says she demanded — and got — a refund from her local Walgreens after her two-month-old son Xavier leaked more with the new Pampers, which instead of Muppets have generic-looking designs of paper airplanes and cameras on them.
“I thought this could be something made in China — like something you’d buy at the dollar store,” Wong-Benjamin told The Post. “I mean, who puts a camera on a diaper?”