Man Who Accused Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash of Underage Sex Recants His Claims
Clash, Who Maintained His Innocence, Says He's "Relieved"
Sesame Street fans are as happy as that little red dude there to the left: the man who accused Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who brings Street icon Elmo to life, has recanted his charge that he and Clash, 52, had a sexual affair when the man was a teenager.
The man, who had gone to Clash's employer, Sesame Workshop, last summer and made the claim that he and Clash had a sexual relationship when the accuser was just 16-years-old, on Tuesday said that was untrue, and that his relationship with Clash was adult and consensual.
Clash, via a statement, said he is "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," the Associated Press reports.
The accuser, who was not identified, but was represented by a law firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, did have a sexual relationship with the Emmy-winning Elmo puppeteer, as Clash freely acknowledged to TMZ.com on Monday.
But Clash, who took a leave of absence from his Sesame Street job to focus on fighting the accusations, maintained that the affair had not taken place until his accuser was an adult.
Clash's employer also released a statement, saying, "We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."
It's not clear when Clash, a 52-year-old divorced father of an adult daughter, will return to work, however.
He has been the voice of Elmo since 1984, and has won 23 Daytime Emmy awards, and one primetime Emmy award, for his portrayal. In 2006, he published an autobiography titled My Life as a Furry Red Monster, and was the subject of the 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.