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. rbrbndmn

    The accuser just needed a little help from The Count to get to the number 18.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sashatree

    Truth wins out. As I posted here and everywhere in the past day or so....Kevin did nothing whatsoever illegal or immoral. His accuser is a lousy POS that is looking for MONEY....which he didn't get! Kevin is a wonderful human being - and we should all just move along. I'm proud to have known him for years.....and would trust him with my life.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    Let the man go back to work. He didn't cause this mess.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AGeek

    The accuser now owes Clash his lifetime earnings. How the hell do you recover from Bravo Sierra like this? Unreal.

    November 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    That 23 year old may have ruined Kevin's career. I'm glad it's over and hope that Kevin can return to his job.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. adifferentshadeofblack

    I have seen it all
    The words "Sesame street" and "Gay" in the same sentence..
    God, where is this country heading too ?
    Will we end up like the people of Sodom

    November 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      I think we may.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GGinBhamAL

      What? You didn't realize Ernie and Bert are gay?

      November 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    If 40 year old woman sleeps with a 16 year old boy, the outcome is the boy just got lucky.
    But if a 40 year old man sleeps with a 16 year old girl, the outcome is the man is charged with felonyR APE. And. Will go to prison accordingly.
    This IS your liberal establishment and convoluted society.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      Exactly what article did you read?

      November 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    I'm having an $.88 Michelina's Lean Gourmet Shrimp with Pasta and Vegetables for my lunch break, and I feel like someone just gave me a million dollars. ;)

    November 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    My favorite Demo. Maybe not. Maybe I should just quit.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tim

    I feel bad for Clash. Hopefully now that the truth is known, he can get back to work. All of you gay bashing bigots, you are America's problem.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lerianis

      Not likely to happen. Allegations like this stay long after even proven false or when an accuser recants. The accuser in this case should be arrested and put in jail themselves, since he basically admitted he lied to police.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • pc

      Big Bird paid the kid off to shut up.

      November 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • irreperabledamage

      This person needs a criminal punishment of some sort, as well as a punitive measure to be paid directly to the elmo man. This cannot be taken back and the man who was accused has a life that has been forever altered. Even now, there are lingering doubts concerning his innocence. I have no concrete solution here.

      November 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      So agree with you, but the article stating he CLASH is the HIGH PITCH Voice – rather than the voice of ELMO speaks bigoted to me.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandeep Singh

      Clash's days on Sesame Street are numbered & he definitely won't have his hand up Elmo's puppet ever again. He has tarnished the brand.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. ohsnap

    16 or 19, it doesn't matter as far as his career is concerned...it's in the dumper now. When the Sesame Street Company said that 'Elmo doesn't belong to one person' (in another article) you know they had already backed off.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    I could care less about Clashess exual oreintation, but when Clashes Federal Income tax zooms from 35% to 39.6%? Don't say I never told you so. I should of never ventured up in here. Sorry I bothered you and your friends. Ba.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peterpeter0

      Learn the difference between possessives and plurals.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      Jeff: "of"is a preposition; "have" is a transitive verb. Learn the difference. There is no "should of, could of, or would of" It is "should've." Also, the correct expression is "I could NOT care less." You are actually saying that you do care. Since "stupid is as stupid does" as you say, well, you can draw your own conclusion.

      November 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mybeardisnowgrey

    say it ain't so elmo, say it ain't so

    November 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Deb

    Elmo says..."Leave Mr. Clash alone and let him get back to being Elmo!"

    November 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lerianis

    It's only 'morally inappropriate' in your conservative opinion. Many people, in fact MOST people, say "Over the age of consent, no harm no foul!"

    November 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
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