Elmo Voice, Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused of Sex with 16-Year-Old Boy
Kevin Clash Takes Leave from 'Sesame Street' Following Allegations
This one is hard to believe (and, boy, are we hoping it's not true), but the voice and puppeteer of Elmo, Kevin Clash, is facing allegations of a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
Amid news of the allegations, Clash has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street.
TMZ.com reports that Clash is accused of having an "inappropriate relationship" with a man who is now 23-years-old. The relationship reportedly has been going on for seven years.
Clash, of course, denies the allegations, and TMZ reports, "Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with a 23-year-old man who claims he and Clash began a sexual relationship 7 years ago ... when he was 16 and Clash was 45."
The site adds, "Clash has acknowledged to TMZ he had a relationship with the young man -- but insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult."
Sesame Workshop released this statement to TMZ: "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."
Their officials have met with the accuser twice and communicated with the man otherwise, but he felt that they were "trying to muzzle him," TMZ reports, and he has assembled a legal team.
The lawyers of Andreozzi and Associates wrote a letter to Sesame Workshop, accusing them of trying to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters," adding, "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."
Sesame Workshop's officials did conduct an investigation and "determined the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated," TMZ.com reports.
According to Sesame Workshop officials, they tell 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."
Clash tells TMZ, "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."
So, wow. Are the claims true? Will this be the end of Clash's career at Sesame Street?