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. Frank

    It was ALL about money. No genie to put back in the bottle, just some opportunistic gay man going after a former flame....Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Bigotry Street?

    November 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Blue state patriot

    Patreaus. Gingrich. Straight guys, LOL.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TM

      Thanks for the parity. Fallen "heroes" everywhere. In a democracy, share the "sin," if its called sin anymore.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Time Will Tell

    Since when is a 16 year old an adult?

    November 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Counterpoint

      I think he's now saying he wasn't getting boned at 16. Just hanging out for a couple of years. Then at 18, greek sauna sort of thing.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Several states consider 16 to be the age of consent...nothing new here. Btw, he was 18 or older.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chuck

    Maybe Romney was onto something with the Sesame Street crowd hahaha

    November 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BilboTeaBaggin

      And Romney wears magic underwear. Wait, what was your point?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. johnsonj3

    Happy for Mr. Clash, not bring Elmo back to. Thank you. I love you Elmo.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caveman

      Why not bring Elmo back if Elmo good?

      November 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grammar teacher

      Not bring Elmo back to "what"?

      November 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Grover

    Elmo didn't pay him off. He sent Harry and Oscar to pay him a little visit.

    November 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Elmo

    Elmo says, Elmo says, take the money and change your story

    November 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anchorite

      Yeah because I'm sure being a puppeteer on a PBS kids show means Kevin Clash is just rolling in it.

      November 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big Bird

    It's all true. I've seen things. Things I'd rather not discuss.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jim

    Nothing wrong with a 52-year-old (or I guess 47 at the time) banging an 18-year old.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • wat?

      would have been nothing wrong with it if he had been 16 and the relationship was in a state where the age of consent was 16.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. ctbeckyw

    Time to bring Elmo home to Sesame Street and for friend, Kevin Clash, to sue now 23 year old.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jeff

    It's a moral destruction now. Consenting or not...the fact the kid was 16..and he was 45 is a moral inappropriateness.

    Sales of Elmo items are going to come to a screeching halt and parents will think twice about getting their child that Elmo doll for Christmas.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Malach

      Elmo himself is a cultural icon that's been around longer then I've been alive. Even if true, why should this story change any child's relationship with a cultural icon like Sesame Street. Get over yourself.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slacktastic

      The accuser recanted and admitted he was not a teenager at the time but was an adult. He was NOT 16. Yes it would be terrible if he was but it turns out he was not and therfore Clash is an innocent man.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gallopagus

    Which has nothing to do with the story. Don't you realize that sound insane?

    November 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gallopagus

    I support Kevin Clash and recognize that this kid was just looking for a little attention. This kid is slandering a decent man and I think Clash should sue his attention-seeking sorry self.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. picked.a.bad.day.to.quit.drinking

    Joey ..... Do you like movies about gladiators?

    November 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. octopus

    @gallopagus: what he means is that if Obama concentrated on something important, like killing Osama bin Laden, instead of campaigning for free contraceptives for gays, this horrendous story of blatant child abuse would never happen.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe

      uuuh, you do realize that Obama DID KILL Bin Laden right?!

      November 14, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Slacktastic

      Bin Laden is dead and this was done under Obama's leadership. What are you talking about?

      November 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim in PA

      (facepalm) – You mean the horrific story where the 16 year old young man admits the relationship was consensual? That story?

      November 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mora

      What rock have you been living under? Osama has been dead for a while now. Speak facts or shut up!

      November 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
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