Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who voices the character “Elmo” on Sesame Street is on a leave of absence following claims of inappropriate relationship between him and a teenage boy, according to a November 12 CNN report. A 23-year-old made claims in June that he had a relationship with Clash beginning when he was 16. It is unclear from the alleger’s statement if he claims the relationship was sexual or not.
Sesame Street Workshop released a statement that they find the allegations “unsubstantiated” after many communications with the accuser, including two meetings. Their investigation did not find any evidence to corroborate the claims. However, they did reveal Clash violated company internet usage policies, which he was disciplined for, and “exercised poor judgment.”
The statement from Sesame Street Workshop released today indicates that the decision to take a leave of absence was Clash’s. “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”, the statement said.
In regards to Elmo, the statement said, “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.”
Read more about issues related to early childhood by following me here. Click the SUBSCRIBE button to receive email updates of new articles . Also join me on Twitter: @rachaelmoshman and on Facebook.