Move over, Anti-Semitic Central Park Elmo, the media’s about to jump head-first into this juicy story involving the genuine article …
Kevin Clash, the 52-year-old voice of Elmo, has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street amid allegations he had sex with a 16-year-old boy. The accuser, now 24, said the relationship started seven years ago, unrelated to the workplace, according to TMZ.
Clash acknowledges he had a relationship with the younger man, but he insists it began after the accuser became of legal age: “I had a relationship with [the accuser],” Clash said. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ … they conducted a thorough investigation and determined the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated. They say they never tried to silence the accuser — rather they asked for evidence supporting his claim, but he never produced it.
Officials also tell us they’re suspicious because the accuser has an email which TMZ obtained — purportedly sent to him by Clash, acknowledging they had the affair when he was 16. The officials say the accuser never mentioned such an email existed and they believe it’s fraudulent.
But there were other emails between Clash and the accuser, and although they don’t suggest there was underage sex, officials tell us they disciplined him for inappropriate use of company email.
Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ … “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.”
Sexual abuse allegations are never easy, for either side. It’s best to wait for more information before breaking out the Tickle Me jokes.