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. KnowaLiarWheniC1

    This seems like he is a liar. He says he is gay and never hid it? I'd like to hear that from his ex-wife, Apparently, he is charming and persuasive. Otherwise, what teen would want an adult that old or what ex-wife would allow him live with her? Without knowing the facts, I would not attack the young man. He was probably attracted to Clash's fame/power and is likely scarred for life.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. infonomics

    How old is Elmo? Is his relationship with Clash a consenual one?

    November 14, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. mik

    Pillow talk, tickle me Elmo? This sucks cuz I've given myself a visual. Disgusting!

    November 14, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. mb2010a

    No, they won't. The young man was over 18 and an adult so it was all consensual. No problem...

    November 14, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lindy500

    discussed a possible “six-figure’’ financial settlement
    =============
    Why a settlement if nothing happened?

    November 14, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      Defamation happened for this young man to make such an allegation and then admit to lying about it.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh??

      Who said anything about a settlement?????? The story certainly doesnt.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ScepticStill

      why shouldn't Clash be compensated for a "false and defamatory allegation"

      November 14, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      ???? Whee do you see that in the story?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Harvesting

      Other stories have stated that there was a 6 figure settlement, I was amazed because why would anyone give money if they were being accused?

      November 14, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Alyssa, people LIE everyday and lie about serious issues. I am NOT surprise. Even if a settlement was given, it still does not mean this guy was telling the truth. Remember these people have millions and to give a few dollars to make you go away is nothing to them.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Harvesting, people settle of different reasons. Sometimes it is cheaper to settle than to go to court and fight. These people have alot riding on them; however, if you are violated, why would anyone take money?

      November 14, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. V

    Jeff, You need to be a better reader...
    "It doesn't matter if it was consensual or not...the fact he was 16..and Clash was 45...is morally inappropriate...and trust me.." That's the whole scandal, the accuser claimed he was 16 but now he is recanting, meaning he was 18 or older(consenting adults).

    November 14, 2012 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    Roberson was right, in a way?

    November 14, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    Who really gives a dam who Elmo sleeps with! To each his own.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Thomas

    Jeff, I think you missed the word "adult". The accuser now admits he was not 16 when this happened. End of story.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. cool beans

    The accuser is a money grubbing lying idiot and Mr clash is probably legally innocent (we'll find out once this mess clears up) but that doesn't change the fact that he's a creeper. Probably not a bad person but still a creeper

    November 14, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh??

      What exactly makes him a "creeper"?? What the heck do you mean by "creeper" anyway??

      November 14, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. BigBearCarolina

    He said it was an "adult relationship", not that he was considered an adult in the eyes of the law. So, his first statement was a lie, but then he decided not to lie, and tell the tuth. Or did he tell the truth, and then decide to lie? If he initially lied, why would you give credence to his "truth"? All we know for sure, is that he has no qualms about lying, and that Elmo has always had an uneasy look on his face, and Mr. Clash always has a rather fiendish grin on his. Top toy this year: The Tickle-me-not Elmo doll.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      He could have been lying about his age and the underage "thing" never happened.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • CHRUIS

      Really? So you don't understand that they had a relationship when the person was of a legal age(17 in some states)? The lie was how old he was when he had the relationship. He also said he was taken advantage of.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Huh??

    "Morally inappropriate"????? Who the heck are you to be the arbiter of morals??

    November 14, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. danita

    oh – at least it wasn't Bigbird and Romney.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lee-Anne G

    Actually what this means is that he was NOT 16 when the relationship started. It happened after he was an adult. His initial claim was refuted and he recanted it. Seems easy for me to understand.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Peace keeper

    Most people on this board can't read or comprehend any logical writing or reading skill. so it makes perfect sense to keep trying to make them understand anything

    November 14, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
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