Scandals don’t usually pay a visit to Sesame Street, but the Muppets puppeteer Kevin Clash is right in the midst of one.
Kevin Clash, who is a Muppet Captain and co-executive producer of Sesame Street, is best known for his work as Elmo, one of the most beloved Muppet characters ever. He has been so immersed in his Elmo work that he wrote a book entitled My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud and was the subject of the 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.
On Monday, Sesame Workshop announced that Clash is taking a leave of absence from Sesame Street after allegations that he had sexual relations with a 16-year-old boy. Although Clash does admit that he did have a relationship with the young man, he says his accuser was an adult and over the age of 18 at the time. But his accuser, who is now 23, claims that their relationship began when he was 16.
TMZ reports that Clash says the relationship “was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
Officials at Sesame Workshop, which is now in the middle of damage control, released a statement saying they were contacted by the accuser back in June and that they “took immediate action.” After they investigated the claims they found the “allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.” Sesame Workshop wrote that the relationship was “unrelated to the workplace.”
“Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation,” Sesame Workshop’s team wrote. “We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.”
Does a scandal like this affect how you see the character of Elmo?
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