Kevin Clash, the puppeteer of Elmo from Sesame Street has taken a leave of absence from the show due to accusations of him having a sexual relationship with a 16-year old boy.
Kevin Clash has denied these charges, that were made back in June, by the accuser, who is now 23-years old. The Sesame Street Elmo puppeteer started the relationship with the boy 7 years ago when he was 16-years old and Clash was 45-years old.
In a statement, Kevin Clash said, “I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.” Clash, the divorced father of a grown daughter, added, “I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.” There is still no word on how long Kevin Clash will be on his leave of absence from Sesame Street.
Sesame Workshop said in a statement, “We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.”
The Sesame Workshop told TMZ, “Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.” They also added that even if Kevin Clash does get convicted for the sexual relationship with the boy, Elmo’s character will still survive.
The accuser has sought out legal counsel from Andreozzi and Associates law firm based out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who are best known for representing one of Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
According to The Associated Press, Kevin Clash has won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy. Clash become part of “Sesame Street” in 1984, when he was handed Elmo, the red fuzzy puppet with ping-pong-ball eyes and was asked to come up with a voice for him. Clash transformed the character, into a major star that rivaled Big Bird as the face of “Sesame Street.” Elmo quickly became popular among children and adults. Elmo was quickly embraced as a frolicsome child with a high-pitched giggle and a tendency to speak of himself in the third person.
The Voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash Leaves Sesame Street
Kevin Clash, the actor behind Sesame Street’s Elmo since 1985, has taken a leave of absence after allegations surfaced that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
Kevin Clash, Elmo’s puppeteer, takes leave of absence from Sesame Street amidst allegations of a relationship with a 16-year-old.
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