The Man Who Provides the Voice of Elmo Is Accused of Having a Sexual Relationship With a 16-Year-Old Boy
KEVIN CLASH, the puppeteer who controls the movements and provides the voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street", is accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage boy several years ago. The accuser is 23 now, and he claims it happened seven years ago, when he was 16 and Clash was 45. (For you non-math majors, Clash is now 52.)
Clash admits he had a relationship with the accuser, but not until he was an ADULT. He says, "I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not." He adds, "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."
His bosses at Sesame Workshop actually have his back on this. They say the accuser came to them back in June, and they, "took immediate action", meeting with and communicating with him several times. They asked the accuser to produce evidence, which he never did. Ultimately, they concluded that there was no basis for the accusations. They did "discipline" Kevin, though, because during their investigation, they determined that he had, "violated company policy regarding Internet usage." There's no word what he did.
So the accuser got a lawyer, and he went with Andreozzi and Associates, a firm that represented one of the victims of former Penn State assistant coach JERRY SANDUSKY. They say Sesame Workshop is trying to, "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters." They also accused them of, "placing a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."
Clash is currently on leave while this gets sorted out. Sesame Workshop says, "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."
Most importantly, ELMO WILL NOT DIE. Sesame says, "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of 'Sesame Street' to engage, educate and inspire children around the world."
Clash has been portraying Elmo on "Sesame Street" since 1985. He'd been doing work for Sesame Workshop since 1979, but didn't officially join the show until 1984. Before doing Elmo, he played Goriddle Gorilla on "The Great Space Coaster". Does ANYBODY remember that show? Here's a clip.