UPDATED: Elmo's Puppeteer Resigns in Aftermath of Allegations
UPDATE, 11/20/12 at 2:42pm EST: The New York Times reports that Kevin Clash has resigned as Elmo's puppeteer as a result of the "aftermath" of the allegations. Another accuser, Cecil Singleton, has come forward with another alleged underage sex story.
UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the accuser has recanted his claim that Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash began a relationship with him when he was underage. The Times cites a statement issued by the accuser's lawyer that read, “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”
I don't like Elmo. That's mainly because my sons had an Elmo talking toy that drove me batty, and if I never hear that puppet speak again -- well, it will still be too soon. But as much as I hate his voice, I hope what we're hearing about his puppeteer, Kevin Clash, isn't true. Clash just took a leave of absence after being accused of having a relationship with a boy -- who was 16 at its alleged onset. Oh, no.
Photo Credit: © Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMAPRESS.com
According to TMZ, Clash says he had a relationship with the younger man, but denies the relationship started while the accuser was underage. TMZ reports speaking directly with Clash about the case:
As for Clash, the voice actor tells TMZ, "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." Clash calls the accusations false and defamatory.
The New York Times printed a statement released by Clash today:
"I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter," he said. "I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation."
Sesame Workshop has granted Clash the leave of absence. I think that speaks a lot to their belief in him -- and, quite honestly, I hope their faith is warranted. My love of college football was forever tainted with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I can't bring myself to watch a game this season knowing that young boys were hurt by that was supposed to be good for them; I struggle with the thought of someday sending my boys to sports camps, far away from my watchful eye. As much as Elmo's voice grates my very last nerve, I'd hate to watch Sesame Street face a similar fate -- less because I care about Elmo, and more because I care about young children and teenagers.
What are your thoughts on this developing story?