By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
Sesame Street is caught up in another controversy. According to various reports, and a public statement released by Sesame Street, the voice actor who portrays Elmo has been accused of having sex with a child. Kevin Clash, who has voiced Elmo for over the last 28 years, has been accused of having sex with an underage boy. Reports claim that the June of this year, Sesame Workshop was contacted by a 23 year old man who claims he had a sexual relationship with Clash that began when he was 16.
In a statement released by Sesame Workshop, they write:
In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a then 23 year old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo.
We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, 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.
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.
Again, Clash denies that there is any truth to the accusations, as he claims he and the accuser did not have a sexual relationship until he was of age and states that the relationship was between two consenting adults.