The puppeteer for the Sesame Street character Elmo who was recently accused of a teen sex scandal appears to have his name cleared. His accuser has officially recanted his previous statement that the two men had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship when he was only 16 years old. The scandal has left the entertainer's reputation tarnished even though his PBS children's television workshop series employers still seem to be supporting him.
Fox News reports, "A man who accused... puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy has recanted his story. In a surprising turnabout on Tuesday, the man described his sexual relationship with Clash as adult and consensual." According to the source, "Clash responded with a statement of his own, saying he is "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest."
But has the issue really been resolved? Despite the fact, Sesame Workshop (the organization responsible for the production of the Sesame Street program) has issued their own statement expressing support for their employee, the problem remains that the puppetter's name has been dragged through the mud as a potential child abuser.
The Washington Post reported on the affair, noting the puppeteer has voluntarily taken time off to help lessen the impact of the scandal. The affair allegedly happened when he was in his forties and the young man was only 16 years old.
"On Tuesday, a law firm saying it represented the man released a statement saying he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship..." said CNN.
While Clash has openly admitted he is gay and the young man in question is now in his twenties, parents who allow their children to make special guest appearances on the program may now be more reticent to allow him to interact in close physical proximity to their children. As such, it is not clear when or if the character's puppet master will return to the show.
Elmo has been one of the largest money makers for Sesame Workshop. To millions of youngsters, the fuzzy red monster puppet has been the iconic representation of platonic love -- always asking for hugs. However, now that the puppeteer is more famous in the press than his puppet for showing poor judgment regarding sexual conduct, it is going to be hard for any viewer to watch or listen to the character without wondering if the man controlling the prop is thinking about things that are inappropriate.
Clash has been the voice of the puppet since 1984.
What do you think, readers? Should a new voice for beloved Sesame Street character be found? Let other readers know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Photo Credit: Bill Thompson