Elmo Puppeteer Accused of Underage Relationship

This is upsetting for a number of reasons.

Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo of Sesame Street has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old boy 7 years ago.*

Sesame Street Workshop found the accusation “unsubstantiated” but they have granted Clash a leave of absence during the investigation.

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.

However…

Clash said his relationship with the accuser “was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”

Kevin Clash and his character of Elmo was most recently the subject of a documentary, Being Elmo.

*This could’ve gone in the TV area or Off Topic, but since the subject matter is so sensitive, I’m thinking P&R is the best place for it.

If there’s even the faintest hint of truth to allegations, and Mr. Clash’s remarks suggest there is, then no good of any sort can come from this situation.

This is just what the fuckness…

There are days I hate being well informed. This is one of them.

We watched the Being Elmo documentary and Clash came across as genuinely very caring and invested in Elmo, Sesame Street, the art of puppetry, and reaching out to kids in general. It’s obvious that Clash was being groomed to take over operations what with all the projects he was leading.

I hope none of this turns out to be true, but it seems something was definitely going on and any hint of sexual activity is going to really make it difficult for Clash to continue doing what he loves.

Yeah, I bet!

I know you’re joking, but I think it’s really important to make a distinction between any sexual contact he (may) have had with a 16 year old and anything similar with Sesame Street’s actual target audience age.

Sesame Street has sucked since Elmo came on board anyway. The kids like him because they’re square.

Well, he also came across as slightly off in a number of ways. I’m disappointed but not extremely shocked.

Well, sure. The guy was/is obviously obsessed with his puppetry to the detriment of his marriage. There aren’t many people that find their all-consuming passion and life’s work so definitively at such a young age. The fact that in his case it was puppetry certainly helps paint a picture of an odder than odd person. I don’t think that’s evidence of anything other than his oddness. At least I hope we aren’t using that as the basis for judgment.

Unfortunately, unless he’s definitively cleared of all accusations, I think this may be the end of his Sesame Street career whether or not he actually did have sexual relations with the accuser when he was a minor.

As I posted elsewhere though, this whole thing has a reek to it, a smell of a shakedown by the accuser.

You’ll note the absence of one key thing from this story at this point: legal investigation. The police aren’t investigating anything apparently, related to this story. I can tell you this: if there was even the slightest bit of illegality going on, Clash would have been summarily dismissed. Sesame Workshop has about as much tolerance on this stuff as Disney. Maybe less.

Instead–and I’m reading between the lines because a friend of mine who is actually the exec producer who is kind of in charge of Elmo can’t talk about it–I’m guessing that the accuser here threatened Clash and Sesame Workshop with going public in exchange for money. SW did their diligence, and then upon finding what they found, decided to beat the fellow to the punch and go public themselves.

I wonder if 16 year old tickled his fancy.

Could be, the one strange thing is the age. 16 is a weird age between statutory and adulthood and childhood. Hell, it might not even be illegal depending on the state. If it was a young child with a crazy parent doing the shouting I would be quicker to throw it in the shakedown pile.

It’s now coming out that the teenager was a plushie who only wanted sex with the actual Elmo puppets. Clash accepted payments for giving him access.

Interesting theory, trig. Sounds like how Letterman got ahead of that blackmail scandal a few years ago. It’s an effective strategy. Here’s hoping Clash and Elmo get through this relatively unscathed.

Hand in or hand out? HAND IN OR HAND OUT?!!!

Sesame Street was awesome back in the day, but something kind of happened around the 90’s iirc, and it lost it’s charm and pure educational slant somehow. I must admit to being out of touch with it these past decades, but for sure if a parent in America it must be an important show to have on tv for education purposes? Although i know it had a campaign against it from Fox or something (which is a good sign that it must have been doing something right), so maybe this is more of that kind of thing?

Are asking any sort of question here? What point is it you’re trying to make?

Does Sesame Street and the Electric Company still do educational TV? Yes.

Do young children still watch and respond to that? Yes.

Was there something else?

The stuff I’ve read says that the relationship didn’t become sexual until the kid was 18. Probably inappropriate, but not criminal. As trigger said, this smells like shakedown to me.

How does this story fall under politics and religion?