I can’t say I’m surprised — not because of the individual who plays Elmo, but because it’s the way of mankind to ruin innocence.
The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on “Sesame Street” is taking a leave of absence from the popular kids’ show in the wake of allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
Sesame Workshop said puppeteer Kevin Clash denies the charges, which were first made in June by the alleged partner, who by then was 23.
“We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement issued Monday. “We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation.”
The organization said its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised “poor judgment” and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no details.
“I had a relationship with (the accuser),” Clash told TMZ. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
At his request, Clash has been granted a leave of absence in order to “protect his reputation,” Sesame Workshop said.
No further explanation was provided, nor was the duration of his leave specified.
I’ll grant him the benefit of the doubt that nothing illegal happened, but even in the best case scenario… why would a then 45 year old man have a consensual relationship with an 18-year old? I know why of course — the same reason 45 year old men make asses of themselves with 18 year old girls/women. As I tell my students in Criminal Law class… fish in waters where the fish won’t get you in trouble. In today’s environment, the risk is too great — so much that it becomes perversely dangerous to skirt the age line when it comes to sexual behavior. Time will tell if the man has photos, videos, or e-mails/texts, etc. to back up his claim or if there is a prior blackmail attempt (which doesn’t seem to be the case given the leave of absence).
My kids are way past Elmo age so luckily I don’t have to explain why Elmo dates boys.