Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Cleared of Charges, Accuser Takes Back Underage Sex Claims
The accuser, who said that Kevin Clash, 45, the voice actor and puppeteer behind Elmo on Sesame Street, had had sexual relations with him while he was still underage, has recanted his accusations.
The Wrap had reported that a 23-year-old man approached Sesame Workshop in June and claimed that Clash had a relationship with him seven years ago, when the accuser was 16.
Clash acknowledged that this relationship did take place but insisted it only took place while the accuser was an adult.
“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,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement.
Now, according to the New York Times, the law firm representing Clash says that the accuser “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”
For his part, Clash feels vindicated. “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further,” he said, via his spokeswoman.
Clash wrote a 2006 autobiography entitled My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud. He was also the subject of the 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.
Clash is still on leave, but the Sesame Workshop says that the accusations will not affect the Elmo character.
“Elmo is bigger than any one person,” the company said, “and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.”