[Gossip] Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused Of Having Sex With 16 Year Old Boy
Posted by Joseph Lee on 11.12.2012
Never look at a Tickle-Me-Elmo the same way again...
TMZ reports that Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street after he has been accused of having sex with a sixteen-year-old boy. Clash denies the claims.
Sesame Workshop recently met with a 23-year-old man who says he and Clash started having sex seven years ago, when he was 16 and Clash was 45. Clash admits having sex with him, but says it only happened after the man was an adult.
The people in charge of Sesame Workshop said in a statement: "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."
Sesame Workshop met with the young man twice and had several other talks with him. After their first meeting, the accuser thought Sesame Workshop's lawyers were trying to silence him, so he acquired the legal services of Andreozzi and Associates, the same firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.
Andreozzi sent a letter on August 15 to Sesame, which accused the company of trying to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters." The letter read: "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."
Sesame Workshop says that they have investigated the situation and ruled that the claims are unsubstantiated. They added that they never tried to keep the young man quiet and instead asked for evidence to support the accusation that never came. Officials also say they are suspicious because the accuser has an email that was allegedly sent to him by Clash, which says they had an affair when he was sixteen. Sesame says the young man never mentioned the email exists and they think it's fraudulent. However, there were other emails between the two and while they don't mention anything about underage sex, Sesame officials say they disciplined him for inappropriate use of company email.
The company said: "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."
It's unknown why Clash took a leave of absence, as he has denied the claims. Clash added: "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 says the claims are "false" and "defamatory".
Sesame Workshop also provided an update on the status of Elmo. They said: "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."