November 13th, 2012
05:42 PM ET

Man says relationship with Elmo puppeteer ‘adult, consensual’

[Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET] A man who alleged he was 16 when he started a relationship with the puppeteer who provides the voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street” now says it was an “adult consensual relationship,” according to his lawyers.

The man, now 23, had told Sesame Workshop in June that he started a relationship with Kevin Clash as a teenager, according to the workshop. The workshop announced on Monday that a thorough investigation found “the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.”

On Tuesday, a law firm saying it represented the man released a statement saying he “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”

“We will have no further comment on the matter,” the statement from Pennsylvania law firm Andreozzi & Associates said.

Clash, 52, and the Sesame Workshop responded Tuesday with statements of their own.

"I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further," Clash said in a message released by his representative.

“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,” the workshop said on its website.

A day earlier, both Sesame Workshop and Clash indicated the man was claiming that he was a teenager when Clash began a relationship with him. Clash acknowledged a relationship between “two consenting adults,” but said the man otherwise was making a “false and defamatory allegation.”

“I am a gay man,” Clash said in a statement issued Monday. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.

“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.”

Both Clash and Sesame Workshop said Monday that Clash was taking a leave of absence to deal with the allegation and protect his reputation. The show told CNN on Tuesday that it had no comment on when Clash would return.

Clash is the high-pitched voice of the iconic furry red Elmo, whom he's been playing since 1984, winning Emmy Awards along the way.

He was the third Muppeteer to take on the role.

Clash is also Sesame Street's senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain, the "Sesame Street" website says.

A documentary, "Being Elmo," focused on his story.

In an interview previously posted on the website of NYC Dads, an initiative of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he spoke about how he worked to spend time with his daughter, who lives with his ex-wife outside Baltimore.

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Filed under: New York • Showbiz • TV
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. callahan9119

    haha

    November 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. John W.

    Phil, this is callahan9119, Callahan9119, meet Phil. Now you can "LOL" and "haha" together like the two little schoolgirls you clearly are.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ophu

      Clearly the internets have not had their fill of primadonnas; we need one more...

      November 14, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. George Spalding

    It's real hard to put the GENIE back in the bottle once you let him out.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin Williams

      That's true.

      November 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ctbeckyw

      That is why Elmo's friend, Kevin, should sue, sue, sue.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    The friggin' damage to a man's reputation has already been done. The 24 hour "newscycle" has flattened Elmo. Life on the street (Sesame) won't be the same!

    November 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      Sounds to me as if the ex's little shock plan backfired...

      November 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    There were several people demonizing Mr. Clash yesterday, assuming that the allegations were true out of pure meanness and bigotry. I wonder where they are now? Are any of them going to apologize? Doubtful!

    November 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DemFromSC

      In a similar vein, I'm waiting for all the crazy Republicans to apologize for insinuating that President Obama: 1)was born outside of the US, 2)wants to establish Islam as the state religion, and/or 3)aims to turn the US into a either a Nazi or socialist country. I won't be holding my breath.

      November 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JimRied

    What is wrong with these gays that they can't remember their own flaming age???

    November 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      I love how you're pretending like it's only gays that prefer younger lovers.

      November 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • markus

      you're right. Old straight men NEVER chase after young girls.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. elisa carr

    I am so relieved @ mr. clash's innocence & its mighty funny that scandel about sesame street would come right after election & elmo of all people was the target of what? a hater plain & simple & i pray that mr clash returns to work & lives his life

    November 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. kpom1

    Did he recant or "recant"? Something seems fishy about this whole thing.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. me

    You know what they say about a woman scorned.....

    November 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Truth4every1

    The answer to all of the world's problems is the truth about life. *Truth Contest com*

    November 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jackblob

    I hope all the people who assumed him guilty are ashamed of themselves.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Prometheus

      Sure. Hope is a good thing.

      November 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. boogar

    Bert and Ernie want to know how much money Elmo paid out yesterday for a recant.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Frank

    Thank Goodness Mr Clash's name has been cleared. Now, I am not a big fan of Elmo, but this is an example where someone almost ruined a man's reputation and career because News Outlets were willing to go with an unsubstantiated claim by a jilted Ex. Articles in the Newspaper today said that Mr Clash believed this to be an effort by the other party to Blackmail him because of a bad ending to the relationship. ANd it looks liek he was right. Let us hop that this quietly fades away, as it never should have been news to begin with.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Curious

    Since the "victim" has recanted his accusation and he is agreeing that he was then and obviously is now an adult, why isn't his name being publicized? It's not ok to attempt to publicly humiliate a person, attempt to destroy their livelihood and personal relationships and potentially effect their future with FALSE and anonymous accusations. This person LIED and is free to walk away from this anonymously while Mr. Clash's name will forever be remembered as having been accused of a very serious offense. Shame on this nameless, faceless, LYING coward. I hope someone will name him publicly so he can feel the embarrassment he deserves. What a horrible thing to accuse someone of, because why? You're mad at them? Disgusting.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mike

    First Petraeus. Now Elmo. This is terrible.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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