By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
The voice behind Elmo was silenced for a moment. Kevin Clash, the puppeteer of Sesame Street’s beloved Elmo, allegedly had a relationship with a minor. A 23-year-old man touched base with the Sesame Street Workshop this past June and claimed that he was involved in a relationship with Clash when he was 16. The allegation caused Elmo’s puppeteer to take a leave of absence from a job that he maintained for the last 28 years.
“I am a gay man, have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter,” Clash said in a statement. “I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.”
The world gravitated to Twitter to address the Elmo scandal in a comical light. “Tell your kids, Tickle Me Elmo tickles back,” one Twitter user posted. “If we can’t trust our kids around Elmo who can we trust them with?” another user tweeted. The Tweets were pretty funny because most of them regard Elmo as the sexual deviant. But that’s not the case. Elmo is iconic in that he always brings joy to the hearts of children all over the country and the world through his witty personality and child-like voice. For a short period of time, it was believed that the voice that brings Elmo to life was ruining poor Elmo’s public image. Kevin Clash should have known better than to mess around with a minor when his job caters to an audience of young children.
But! In a surprising turn of events, the accuser who remains to be mysterious, recanted his accusations against Clash. The accuser said his bond with Clash was an adult consensual relationship.
“We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement.
It is unclear as to when Clash will return to Sesame Street, but it’s good to see that the voice behind Elmo was telling the truth and refused to succumb to an untrue accusation. Many public figures such as former New York City Mayor Eliot Spitzer and collegiate football coach Jerry Sandusky have had their careers ruined by similar allegations. But it’s refreshing to see a case like this have a happy ending in which the accuser admits his dishonesty and the accused proves his innocence.
If Sesame Street’s ratings dipped due to this incident, I’m sure that the Sesame Street brand would have parted ways with Clash. It’s hard to say how this scandal would have affected Sesame Street altogether because the scandal was only in its infancy stages. There wasn’t much information regarding the accusation. I hope that this short-lived scandal does not ruin the reputation of Elmo because we need Elmo in our lives. Well, debatable. But maybe the kids need Elmo in their lives. I mean, have you seen the most recent kids shows? So we need to put this despicable incident behind us and continue to support Sesame Street. Hopefully Kevin Clash can make peace with his past lover and return to work soon because life without Elmo isn’t a life at all.