Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy

Over the summer, I got drawn into a particularly good Independent Lens program called “Being Elmo”. It was a documentary about Kevin Clash, the man who voices/puppeteers Elmo, and how Clash grew up in poverty but how he knew – from a very young age – that he always wanted to work with puppets and specifically wanted to work on Sesame Street. It was a profoundly moving and amazing documentary and I fell in love with Clash’s heart. So I was profoundly disturbed to read this news on TMZ this morning – Clash has been accused of having a seven year “inappropriate relationship” with a 23-year-old dude. Meaning that it began when the dude was a 16-year-old boy. Oh, God.

Kevin Clash — the man known as the voice of Elmo — has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street in the wake of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, TMZ has learned … allegations Clash adamantly denies.

We’ve learned … Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with a 23-year-old man who claims he and Clash began a sexual relationship 7 years ago … when he was 16 and Clash was 45. Clash has acknowledged to TMZ he had a relationship with the young man — but insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ … “In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action.”

Sesame Workshop officials acknowledge to TMZ they met with the accuser twice and had a number of other communications with him.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell TMZ … after the accuser’s initial meeting with Sesame Street, the accuser felt Sesame Workshop’s lawyers were trying to muzzle him … so he lawyered up with Andreozzi and Associates — the firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.

On August 15, 2012 … Andreozzi fired off a letter to Sesame, accusing the company of trying to “discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters,” adding, “This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man.”

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.”

It is unclear why Clash wanted a leave of absence, since he denies the allegations of underage sex.

As for Clash, the voice actor tells TMZ, “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.” Clash calls the accusations false and defamatory.

Finally Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ the puppet is alive and well: “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.”

[From TMZ]

Oh NOooo. This is going to be a mess. After watching Being Elmo, I really thought I understood Clash, and this is just so, so disappointing. Not that this makes anything better, but it doesn’t sound like a Jerry Sandusky situation (Sandusky raped children… I’m just saying, there’s a legal distinction), although lord knows what revelations are going to come out in the next few weeks/months. This sounds like statutory rape and truly an “inappropriate relationship”. If Clash did begin this relationship with the guy when he was 16 years old, it’s still going to be a big criminal and legal matter that could conceivably destroy the goodwill of Sesame Street and of Elmo in particular. Elmo is the most lucrative part of the Sesame Street brand – and from that quote given to TMZ, it sounds like Sesame Street is already taking action to protect the Elmo brand and separate it from Kevin Clash. Ugh, this is just so sad and awful.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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91 Responses to “Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy”

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  1. Alexis says:

    :|

    I can only hope that’s not true.

    • Miffy says:

      I’m seriously doubting it is. Why did the accuser go to his abuser’s multi-billion dollar company bosses rather than the police if this was true? A tad fishy.

      I feel sorry for Kevin Clash, even if this is proven to be false his rep will be tainted with these accusations forever.

  2. Isa says:

    Some states have legal age of consent at 16. Not sure how this will work though, since I think states have laws against sodomy.

    • Bluedog says:

      I was wondering about the age of consent thing, also. Do states actually enforce sodomy laws anymore?

      When I was 16, I was dating my 27-year-old boss, which sounds all kinds of wrong, but totally wasn’t. I went after him, for starters. Maybe this situation isn’t as bad as it sounds, though 16 and 45 sounds pretty bad.

      • lolita says:

        I dated a 63 year old when I was 17. It was totally consensual although every one around me thought it was creepy. At 22 now I kind of see.their point.I thought I loved him and he loved me but in hindsight the relationship was a product of all my daddy and other issues. Maybe the accuser at the time consented but now looks back and sees things in a different light.was it wrong? Perhaps but if it wasn’t rape I think he should face the fact that he made poor choices and live with it not try to blame others for what are obviously choices he made … I mean if you are in a 7 year relationship you know exactly what you are doing.

      • Dani says:

        Bluedog – same exact situation with me. I worked part time as a personal assistant to a 27 year old, who was my boss, and I went after him and was with him for a year on and off. Who knows if this guy wasn’t the same type of going after what you want situation.

      • Kaboom says:

        Sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003.

      • Isa says:

        I’m not sure about the sodomy. We need one of our resident legal experts to explain better. But I believe now it’s only used to stick it to someone. I’ve heard of men getting charged with two counts of sodomy or something when they have raped someone. I think it’s used as a way to bring more charges against a criminal.
        So now I’m wondering, if they could charge him with sodomy if they couldn’t for statutory rape. Does anyone know what state this is going on in? Maybe the legal age is actually 18?
        I really don’t understand this. He was in a consensual relationship but now wants to get him in trouble? Why?
        I started dating my husband at 16 and he was 21 soon to be 22. My age freaked him out but now it’s less noticeable.

      • Isa says:

        Okay I just googled it and saw where it said they were deemed unconstitutional in 2003. But when I found stuff in the news where people were charged with sodomy as recently as this month. I guess it’s a different charge? Idk

      • MNFinn says:

        In my state of Minnesota we just had a scandal where a state senator was caught in the bathroom of a highway rest stop doing it with a 16 year old boy.

        I was surprised to learn that consenting age in MN is 16 so police did not press charges.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Not a lawyer, but my understanding is ….

        Depending on exactly how it’s defined in local laws, sodomy can be a very broad term. It just means sex-like act that isn’t strictly P in V. So if someone is charged with “1 count of rape and 2 counts of sodomy” it could mean putting P in some other orifice, or putting something other than P in the V.

        But it used to be used to discriminate against consenting gay men. That’s the bit that is no-longer constitutional … the Supreme Court basically said that consenting adults have the right to shag however they like (within the privacy of their own home).

        So no more laws outlawing “deviant” sexual practices between consenting adults, but you can still get charged with sodomy in the context of sexual assault because rape is often defined strictly as P in V.

  3. Val says:

    Well kinda knew elmo was gay. Hope its not true though.

  4. fabgrrl says:

    Difficult for me to get my panties in a twist over sex with a SIXTEEN year old – given that 16 is the age of consent some places, but not others. I mean, if there is any evidence of coercion, or Clash was in a position of authority, then yes, totally a crime. But, meh? Seems unfair to even bring up Sandusky. This could be more like a Courtney Stodden situation – totally gross, but not criminal.

  5. L says:

    Gah I hope this isn’t true.

    And I agree it’s totally different that Sandusky. Seeing a guy assaulting a child in a locker room and then making sure everyone is quiet about it for years while it continued, is totally different from this situation.

    I’m reserving judgement until the evidence comes out.

  6. QQ says:

    *sceubbing brain with pics of puppies asaptually*

  7. V4Real says:

    Wow that’s the voice of Elmo; I’ll never look at Elmo quite the same ever again.

  8. embertine says:

    NNNOOOOOOOO I was just writing about him today. Regardless of age of consent, sleeping with someone a third of your age, especially when that person is still a schoolchild, is just plain creepy. LABYRINTH NOOOOOOO. :(

  9. candigirl says:

    So Elmo is a pedophile, hmmm, yeah not good.

  10. Tiffany says:

    I hope I am reading this right. The accuser initially sent a letter to the higher ups. He did not get a lawyer until after he was given an answer that was not to his satisfaction. He also did not go to the police. I hope this was not a shakedown because it the allegations are false,.Clash career is over. I will stay tuned.

    • Esmom says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I am suspicious of the accuser’s motives. And I agree that this situation, which involves a single, consensual relationship, should not be compared to the Sandusky tragedy.

    • Helen says:

      The entire situation sounds sketchy, especially since possibly fraudulent emails are involved.

      “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.”

    • L says:

      Yea that sketched me out to. He’s not a employee, so its not he’s going through HR channels.

      Why not go to the cops? They would keep a more solid paper trail and if the guy was worried about things being hushed up-that route just makes more sense.

      Going to a company he doesn’t work for, having several meetings, and then lawyering up makes me give him the side eye. Will try and reserve final judgement though.

  11. Madpoe says:

    What the hell is happening on Seasame Street?!? Times are hard!

  12. bonnie says:

    I’m not saying that a 45 yo having a relationship with a 16 yo is ok, but why did this man wait until he was 23 and then go to sesame street to complain? The 23 yo admits to being in a long term relationship with Clash. If they broke up, why would he go to Clash’s place of employment and lawyer up? This sounds funny to me. We had the GOP backlash on Sesame Street and now we have this? I just cannot see Sesame Street sweeping any child abuse allegations under the table. This just seems fishy to me

  13. teehee says:

    Well its not just a legal but definitely a psychological distinction as well. Just hope that all those involved will be ok.

  14. sunshine says:

    I don’t agree with 16 meaning ‘adulthood’ or ‘not a child’. Although that may be the age of consent in some states, some 16 year olds are extremely naive and childlike, and could be extremely vulnerable. Thank God no one ever tried to take advantage of me at that age, because I was exactly the type of 16 year old I just described. To imagine a 45 year old with a 16 year is just disgusting and perverse, I don’t care if guy guy or guy girl.

  15. Aud says:

    Oh well, looks like it’s the end of the Elmo franchise.
    I really don’t care how sexually aware 16 year olds are, and they are sexually aware, but still, it would have made Clash in his mid thirties when he decided to have a sexual relationship (allegedly), which is inappropriate.

  16. gg says:

    No, no, no, no, please don’t be true. I listened to the most heartfelt interview with him on NPR Fresh Air, twice it was so good, then saw his documentary. I thought he was the nicest person in the world. Please don’t be true!

  17. Birdix says:

    A friend who worked with him longterm really really didn’t have kind words about him. And this is a fairly generous person who is extremely open minded. I was surprised to hear about the documentary after how he’d been characterized to me.

  18. Diva says:

    Why go to the Sesame Street people and not the POLICE?! I’ll wait to hear more before I believe this story is true.

    • Rumorhasit says:

      Agree with you 100 percent.
      Sadly though, these kind of accusations hurt people’s lives and livelihood. I pray this is only a shakedown after a bad breakup. Clash gets his name cleared….but still a slight side eye towards a 30 something yr old man hooking up with a teenager. Hope that part proves to be false also.

  19. Reece says:

    You don’t want to disregard something like this. The thing is even a dis-proven allegation like that can taint somebody’s rep. This sounds suspicious all around. I think I shall reserve judgement.

  20. Miss Kiki says:

    Do different states have a different age of consent? In England the age of consent is for homosexual and heterosexual sex is 16. This doesn’t sound like clear cut case of molestation. As other posters have put 16 yr olds have had relationships with older people. In my personal opinion at 25 I wouldn’t have a relationship with someone that young but that’s mainly cos guys my own age annoy me let alone younger guys. Overall though something about this kind of stinks.

  21. Guest says:

    I saw the doc. So unfortunate. If true; Elmo is gone.

  22. OriginalGeekChic says:

    I fail to understand why the article and people posting are acting as if this man if already guilty. The story seems sketchy, at best, and there are a huge number of red flags that signal possible deception on the part of the accuser. Calling Clash a pedophile and comparing him to Sandusky is ridiculous when we don’t know the facts of the situation. Maybe he had an inappropriate relationship, but it’s also entirely possible that he didn’t.

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Sheesh.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      I agree.

      It’s too soon for pitchforks and torches. I’m not condoning misconduct, I’m just not going to burn the man’s house down while we’re still in the ‘innocent until proven…’ stage of things. Plus, this story is a bit conveniently pat and doesn’t really coalesce in my brain. I hope we’ll soon be feeling sympathy for Clash rather than disdain and I think there’s a good chance for the former because a lot of it just doesn’t seem right.

      If you feel like you to have to bring up Sandusky, (and you really didn’t) bring up the fact that so many people couldn’t taint themselves quickly enough to protect a true and confirmed monster.

      To this day the Happy Valley ‘Bots can’t bring themselves to actually condemn ‘Joe Pa’ for not giving a shit about the right of a child to be safe under the watch of those people meant to be their protectors. And the most crass and hollow dog and pony show staged to ‘support’ the victims and their loved ones? A glib little candlelight vigil at which none of the organizers would assign any guilt and a plea to the media to not be so hard of Paterno. Fuck.That.Fuckery.Thrice.

      I don’t know what happened with Clash, but I know I’ve not heard allegations of him starting up a charity outreach program in order to supply him with a steady stream of young lives to destroy, or let someone else do it while looking away, so we’re talking about a different galaxy of evil, here. No comparison.

      Clash isn’t Bluebeard II, you’ve got another much more suitable heir to that dubious throne and it’s not universal victim-shaming to investigate whether these specific allegations are true. In truth, this is sketchier than Leonardo da Vinci’s dorm room, so it will be interesting to see where this goes.

  23. princesslizabeth says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  24. Ellie66 says:

    I wonder if he uses the Elmo voice during sex. Lol!

  25. Kim says:

    What’s next Big Bird caught w teenage hooker

  26. Kim says:

    What’s next Big Bird caught w teenage hooker.Conservatives are going to have a field day,Rush already said Bert and Ernie were gay along w Teletubbies

  27. LeeLoo says:

    I really don’t believe this for the simple reason CTW and Sesame Street have a huge vested interest not to hire anyone or keep anyone employed who has committed a sex crime since they work with children everyday. So if they did an investigation and found no merit to the claims, I believe them. Elmo will never be gone from Sesame street, they could have quietly replaced Kevin Clash with someone else.

    Every instinct I have screams shakedown for money by a jilted ex-boyfriend. Besides, why wait this long before going to police? This story has a major fishy element. I hope on the slight chance it is true these allegations are taken seriously by LAW ENFORCEMENT but that I sincerely believe this is an effort to extort money.

    • Nonny says:

      I agree with this. It just seems like the kid was out for some easy cash or so he thought and when Sesame Street said…we haven’t found anything that says this happened where is your proof he said oh well you guys are just trying to shut me up so I’m going to go hire a lawyer who will smear Kevin’s name since you won’t pay me. Truly sad.

      I actually have only heard good things about Kevin.

  28. Lem says:

    My goodness, not yet- I’m not willing to skewer Elmo just yet
    Snarky gossip is one thing. Running half cocked on this little info against serious repercussions is dangerous.

  29. Cam S says:

    Cue the Saturday Night Live skits where Elmo starts molesting kids…

  30. Zorbitor says:

    from now on its Tickle Me .. But Not Me Elmo

  31. roxy750 says:

    This is wrong on so many levels…no explanation needed. Oh Elmo…..:(

  32. jessiesgirl says:

    I’m with LeeLoo on this one. The story has my BS alarm going on high. Sounds like blackmail pure & simple. Even if they met when yhe guy was 16, there’s no evidence except one email that says they were together before he was 18. And that email appeared out of the blue even though there were other emails that showed a legal relationship that were already in play? Yeah, BS.

  33. Magpie says:

    Attention adults, just say no to sex with teenagers! I can’t stress that enough!

  34. Kate says:

    First of all. Ewwww.

    Second. Isn’t there a 16 year old married to that guy from The Green Mile? Courtney Stodden? Why had there not been charges there?!?

    This sounds fishy To me. Like it was totally consensual (although icky) and the boy is now a spurned lover mad over a breakup

    Sorry Elmo, but stick to boys out of high school from now on.

  35. ms. heart says:

    it’s definitely worth a conspiracy theory: Romney is a sour loser!

  36. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    I really hope this isn’t true :(

  37. darth says:

    Great.
    Way to perpetuate the stereotype that all gay men are pedophiles. The looney right wingers are gonna have a field day with this one.

  38. LouLou says:

    I also saw the documentary about him. It was a great documentary. However, at the time I watched it, I felt guilty for wondering if he was possibly a pedo. I definitely thought he was gay even though he was married to a woman. This probably won’t end well.

  39. Janet says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! My little grandson adores Elmo! I don’t know if he’ll be allowed to watch it any more behind this!

  40. Feebee says:

    I really wish we could leave Elmo out of this. Whatever happens I think Elmo will live on.

    The accuser’s actions of seeking out the company are a little sketchy as many have pointed out. However many more facts are needed. If he was looking for a settlement/shakedown then I assume they were in a state where the age of consent is 18 not 16. Regardless this looks a little icky for Mr Clash. He can only hope the story dies quickly.

  41. yoyo says:

    People! What are these double standards?!
    If this were a 50 year old man admitting to having a “consensual” relationship with a 16 year old girl people would be up in arms! Proof: Courtney Stoden and her creep of a husband. But because it’s 2 guys it a-ok?!
    NO!
    Clash is a perv, period. I don’t care if “the age of consent” is 16. Yes it’s the age of consent for people WITHIN THE SAME AGE BRACKET.
    Sorry if I’m getting heated here, but this disgusts me so much.
    I remember watching the elmo documentary and thinking “there’s something off here”, first of all my gaydar was going bezerk and it annoyed me that they were trying to portray him as straight. It came off as fishy. But if it’s because he was perving with a 16 year old then yeah I understand why he was trying to hide it!

    He knows he did wrong. And the fact that he’s trying to get all technical like: oh, no he was actually 18 …still perving. Yes you’ll find the exception that proves the rule, my grandmother was 20 years younger than my grandfather, but 99% of the time this kind of stuff is pervy as hell. The former 16 year old is trying to black mail him for it…sigh…seriously, serves Clash right!

    • Kim says:

      Well if it was a heterosexual relationship they could get married like Courtney and Doug.So fifty year old heterosexual male can legally marry 16 yo and its recognized by federal government. I don’t understand the attraction between people two people with such an age difference. If this allegation is true than go to police not to SS.I see some conservative sites are claiming this story was hidden until after election. Also PBS funding should be cut because of Gay Agenda.I believe this Guy is a spurned lover JMO.Let’s. see if files a complaint w police.

    • Julianna says:

      Just think-if everyone thought the same way you do about May/December romances, you wouldn’t even be alive.

  42. RdyfrmycloseupmrDvlle says:

    So, this accuser was so bent out of shape about the unwanted attention he stayed in the relationship for almost a decade???

  43. MB says:

    This is messed up and yet another reason why I would never want to be famous. Someone always wants to screw you over.
    OK, so we may think this situation is somewhat creepy but I dont see why Kevin has actually done wrong. This is further evidenced by the fact that the police have not gotten involved.

    This was not a one-time thing, this was obviously a relationship. The only reason why this 23y.o would lawyer up and go to Kevin’s employer is to trash his good name and get him fired. He is out to ruin him. Sounds to me like a lover scorned and poor Kevin, who has worked for decades to build his career, is about to lose it all because of this punk. Disgusting.

  44. The Original Vee says:

    I like Elmo. It took a great creative talent to envision, develop, and bring Elmo to life. Elmo is a wonderful character beloved by many children. Only Kevin Clash should and can puppeteer Elmo. I for one, don’t care if Kevin Clash had a private relationship with a sixteen year old. What does that have to do with Elmo? Does the relationship with that former sixteen year old imply that there is some inappropriate behavior between Elmo (a preschool aged monster) and Kevin which should concern me? Leave Kevin and Elmo alone!!! I hope Sesame doesn’t get pressured into retiring poor Elmo on account of nosybody news!

    • The Original Vee says:

      Why does it say that my comment is ‘unpublished’ and then I hit ‘publish’ again and its still ‘unpublished’ but then I go back to the homepage and then my comment is published twice (see below) Anyway, no offense to ‘nosybody news’ (above) or I wouldn’t be on this, my FAVE website in the world, I just mean the other ‘nosybodies’ out there, but not us celebitchians. :) !

  45. The Original Vee says:

    I like Elmo. It took a great creative talent to envision, develop, and bring Elmo to life. Elmo is a wonderful character beloved by many children. Only Kevin Clash should and can puppeteer Elmo. I for one, don’t care if Kevin Clash had a private relationship with a sixteen year old. What does that have to do with Elmo? Does the relationship with that former sixteen year old imply that there is some inappropriate behavior between Elmo (a preschool aged monster) and Kevin which should concern me? Leave Kevin and Elmo alone!!! I hope Sesame doesn’t get pressured into retiring poor Elmo!

  46. NicoleLisa says:

    I think it’s all about money these days .Let Elmo be.

  47. ken says:

    Man! They business all in the streets. I could not be a celebrity. …Im not saying its right. …But everybody need
    to mind their own business…this world is a mess

  48. ken says:

    Man! They business all in the streets. I could not be a celebrity. Im not saying its right. But everybody need
    to mind their own business…this world is a mess