Kevin Clash doesn’t have to worry about how to get to Sesame Street for a while because the beloved voice of Elmo is involved in a major scandal right now. The 55-year-old who has been the voice of the popular red puppet since 1984 has been accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage boy and has subsequently been placed on a leave of absence.
According to a statement from Sesame’s Workshop:
In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a then 23 year old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo.
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.
Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.
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, as it has for 40 years.
This news is obviously a major blow to Clash’s legacy. He is, or perhaps was, approaching 30 years as the voice of Elmo and has won a number of awards for his work with Sesame Street, including 10 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series. When TMZ asked the actor, who was previously married and is the father of one daughter, about the situation he told the site:
“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.”
You do have to question the motive of this man coming forward wth this allegation seven years after their relationship supposedly began. This story definitely has the potential to be evidence a lover’s quarrel gone wrong. I definitely hope this story isn’t true.