Diatribe: Tickle Me, Elmo, Indeed.
Sesame Street’s little red dynamo, Elmo, is in the news today. Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, has been accused of statutory rape as a result of a sexual relationship seven years ago by a now 23-year-old man.
“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. 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. 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.” – Sesame Workshop
The Emmy-winning puppeteer has acknowledged a consensual relationship with the accuser but that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory so he is expected to take actions to protect his reputation.
“It was between two consenting adults, and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.” – Kevin Clash
Apparently, the accuser produced emails allegedly sent by Clash in which he admits that he knew the young man was underage but the emails are said to be falsified forgeries of some kind. A preliminary investigation by Sesame Workshop is said to have revealed that Clash did use his company email account to write to his accuser on more than one occasion but that there was no mention of anything sexual or illegal in those communications.
There is no word on how long the puppetmaster’s leave of absence might last but Sesame Workshop insists that the scandal has nothing to do with their furry red star. I, for one, will never see the character in quite the same way.
Tickle me, Elmo, indeed.
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