Kevin Clash, the Voice of Elmo, on Leave From Sesame Street Amid Underage Sex Allegations

Kevin Clash, the voice behind Sesame Street‘s Elmo, is on leave of absence from the show amid claims that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy — an allegation the 52-year-old puppeteer is denying.

According to a statement released by Sesame Workshop, the now-23-year-old man approached execs back in June with the claim. After conducting a “thorough investigation,” the company “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.” However, “our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined. 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.”

Sesame concluded its statement by saying, “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.”

Clash, meanwhile, issued a statement to TMZ saying, “I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”

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27 Comments
  1. Aleksa says:

    Seriously?!

  2. leigh says:

    Wow. That’s all I can say…

  3. Katt says:

    Even if he didnt do it his career is now over.

  4. Amanda says:

    Wonder what will happen with Elmo. Kevin is the only person who does his voice and appearances – no one else.

    • TV Gord says:

      That’s what they said about Kermit and Ernie and all of the other Muppets Jim Henson voiced. And let’s face it, almost anyone can do Elmo’s voice.

  5. kristy says:

    See…i knew tickle me elmo was creepy…. :-P

  6. Billy says:

    This is a money grab plain and simple…If it was anything else he would have gone to the police to report these allegations not Sesame Street Workshop (especially since the statue of limitations is not up yet)…because what can they for you other than pay you millions of dollars…stupid money hungry people

  7. harper920 says:

    What’s the age of consent in America for straight and gay couples? Here in the UK this would have been legal (but a bit eccentic and the older guy would have been in his 30′s) as consent for sex both gay and straight is at 16.. Its not like he would have used the Elmo puppet to seduce a child – I doubt a 16 year old would be impressed that this guy played elmo if they met in a club. How old was Courtney Stodden when she married Doug Hutchison 16? -I think its just as morally wrong for them, and yet they make a fortune in magazine deals, but its more scandalous if they’re both men!

    • elf says:

      In the United States it varies by state, though for the majority of states it is 18. There are exceptions, such as when the child is declared an “emancipated minor” by a judge and given all the rights of a legal adult without having reached legal age.

      As for Clash’s career, I think this will blow over rather quickly. Very few kids who watch the show are going to have any clue what is going on and likely never will. If there are any parents who are going to stop letting their kids watch Sesame Street because they learned one of the performers is gay, then I feel sorry for those children.

  8. VCI says:

    Even if the boy was 18, the relationship is still kind of creepy. 18 yr olds shouldn’t be dating people in their 40′s/50′s, it just how does a relationship like that work. (That goes for straight relationships to)

    And was Kevin Clash openly gay before this? I hope that doesn’t turn parents off of him.
    And I hope it doesn’t ruin his career, because Elmo has brought joy to toddlers for years and is one of the sweetest characters for that age demographic that is still beloved.

  9. Leigh says:

    If I may, I would suggest changing the title of the article. Children may happen to pass by, see there parents reading this article, and question the words Elmo and sex in the title. No one under the age of 10 needs to see this.

    • Alexa says:

      What 10 year old is perusing this website?

      • Butters says:

        You would be surprised at what 10 year olds look up on the net they are not that naive. It is actually pretty sad some of the thing some people have told me that their kids searched on the net and some of those things I did not know existed until I was in my early thirties.

    • Mary says:

      If your ten year-old happens to wander by and sees you reading the article then tell her/him a man took advantage of a child. It will be an opportunity to teach your child about sexual abuse.

  10. Alyssa says:

    So this is how Mitt Romney is going to take down Sesame Street…

  11. Drew says:

    Having the voice of Elmo in his 40′s or 50′s show an attraction to young boys (barely legal or not) is creepy. It’d be creepy if he were straight too. But “creepy” and “illegal” are not the same thing.

    There’s no evidence of a crime, but there are suspicious bits and pieces. They say that they didn’t find any proof that he had a relationship with a minor, yet they included his being punished for breaking the company’s internet rules? Seems fishy that they wouldn’t just say that he had no improper relationship and leave it at that. Adding the part about the internet conduct seems like it’s making an excuse for his being punished. Otherwise, we didn’t need to know that part.

    Then they say that they granted him a leave of absence to take care of his matter… so, they punished him and he is now on leave, all for something that he didn’t do?

    If this were a politician, he’d be burned at the stake by now. I didn’t grow up with Sesame Street (more of a Reading Rainbow kid) and I’ve always kinda found the characters annoying. This story and their handling of it smells rotten and if I were a parent, I’d be thinking twice about letting my kid watch that show or buy their products.

    You might ask why this guy didn’t just go to the police… but it’s really not that uncommon in situations where you’re dealing with a sex crime. Unless he has a blue dress stashed away somewhere, it would be difficult to prove in a legal sense.

  12. Miffy says:

    Let’s make sure they get extra government funding! Mustn’t cut off funding to them now!

    • Butters says:

      Sesame Street actually does not receive funding from PBS, even though it is broadcasted on PBS. They make a lot of their money from toys, dvds, books, etc.

  13. Shane says:

    Wow, weird. My wife and I just watched this guy’s documentary last week and thought it was really great. At some point he mentions his ‘ex-wife’ and I was mildly curious what caused the divorce. I assumed it was his obsession with puppets and always putting his job before his family. (That’s not a judgement, he admits it in the documentary.)
    I guess that’s not quite what did it.

  14. Nana Osgood says:

    Whether the young man was 16 or 23 or 35 makes no difference. Something/anything homosexual related to Sesame Street will have serious repercussions. Even if it is NOT true.

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