The man behind the beloved furry red monster takes a leave of absence after sexual allegations surface
In an allegation that's sure to send Tickle Me Elmo sales plummeting this holiday season, the man behind one of Sesame Street's most famous puppets has been accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage boy. Kevin Clash, 52, the voice of Elmo since 1984, has taken a leave of absence from the show to handle the allegations, which he vehemently denies; Clash does admit to having had a relationship with his accuser, but says that it did not begin until the accuser was an adult and that the affair "was between two consenting adults." The now-23-year-old accuser reached out to Sesame Workshop in June, claiming that the relationship began when he was 16. In response, Sesame Workshop conducted an investigation, found the accusations unsubstantiated, but admitted in a statement that, "Kevin exercised poor judgment." According to a TMZ report, the alleged victim produced an email he claimed was sent by Clash, acknowledging the affair. Sesame Workshop's lawyers suspect the email is fraudulent. The accuser has hired Andreozzi and Associates, the same law firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky abuse case. The law firm accuses Sesame Workshop of attempting to discredit the victim to protect the image of Elmo. It adds, "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well-being of a young man." This isn't the first time Sesame Street has been embroiled in controversy. Here, a look at Clash as Elmo:
Other stories from this topic:
- Opinion Brief: Could a Sesame Street movie match The Muppets' success?
- The List: Being Elmo: 5 revelations about Sesame Street's star
- Opinion Brief: Sesame Street's new 'poverty-stricken' Muppet
- EssayThe last word: He said he was leaving. She ignored him.