It’s been a busy week in the world of Elmo.
On the bad publicity front, one of the multiple men who last year accused Kevin Clash, the former puppeteer behind the “Sesame Street” character Elmo, of having sex with him when he was underage, has filed a new lawsuit against the 52-year-old, alleging sexual abuse and claiming that Clash provided him with the crystal meth the two did together back when the accuser was a teenager.
The plaintiff, 24-year-old Sheldon Stephens, made his first allegations last November before recanting them and calling his relationship with Clash an “adult consensual” one. That month, Clash resigned from his “Sesame Street” job after revealing he is gay and maintaining his innocence.
Stephens’ latest suit alleges that "Clash smoked crystal meth while engaging in sexual activity with Sheldon." The lawsuit also claims that Clash gave Sheldon “poppers” – an inhalable drug derived from alkyl nitrites – as a sexual aide. “While Clash had sexual contact with Sheldon, the chauffeur watched and masturbated."
The documents further claim that "Clash was an adult male living a prominent public life centered around the entertainment of toddlers, while at the same time he was, in secret, preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests” and that Clash told Sheldon when the two first met at a networking event for models and actors that Clash would “help Sheldon with his acting career.”
There are currently three other federal lawsuits involving sexual misconduct pending against Clash, though no others mention drug use. Clash’s attorney, Michael Berger, released a statement saying that Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing and that the cases have no merit.
Meanwhile, Elmo is proving he can live on without Clash. And this week, with a new puppeteer at the helm, “Sesame Street” released an oddly timed sneak peek of the beloved character showing off some dance moves along with special guest, actress Melissa McCarthy, and a penguin puppet, while teaching young viewers what the word “choreographer” means. Listen and you’ll realize that Elmo doesn’t quite sound the same as the old days, but at least he’s still hanging in there. The McCarthy bit airs on Thursday’s episode.
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