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. Donbo

    Leave Elmo out of this.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brittany

    My toddler adores Elmo and has no idea who Kevin Clash is, so we will continue to buy All The Elmos.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. HELP

    SMH....Why Elmo? WHY???

    November 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Patrickk

    Bad press is good press in this country. I'm sure this year will be a great sales year for Elmo!

    November 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    If the article is indeed accurate, and this person has recanted, how is this guys name not released? When will people be held accountable for false accusations at the expense of others reputaions and careers? Disgusting this accuser maintens his anonymity.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. analog4x5

    too bad the story about the accuser making the whole thing up isn't as big as the original story that ruined this man's reputation.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. nojusticed

    Morally inappropriate because one is 16 and one is 45, but is being gay morally appropriate? If not then does it really matter?

    November 14, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mr right

    interesting.....choice in life lead to out come....reap what you sow.....

    November 14, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Toni

    The story said the accuser is 23, the original accusation was that he was 16 when the relationship started. However, the accuser has recanted that story. We have no way of knowing about the true age of the accuser during the relationship unless either clarifies. So, we need to stop assuming...

    November 14, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. christine

    What a NONSTORY! sheesh Lets stop stop digging for dirt and mind our own dirt! Love u kevin love u elmo!!!!!!!! Next thing yah know captain Kangaroo will have been a closet nazi.LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sheila

    He should be arrested, and sued. We can't keep tolerating false accusations that can lead to criminal charges. I say, if anyone makes a false statement about someone else, they should face the same penalty that the original accused would have faced.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hooligan

    did you read the article at ALL?

    The accuser recanted the statement and very clearly admitted he was indeed an adult when Clash and he had a relationship.

    In other words.... HE WAS NOT A MINOR AND THEREFORE NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. sockpuppet1984

    uh hello? The accuser admitted it wasn't when he was 16-that was the whole point of contention–Clash said they had a relationship when he was a legal adult (ie 18 and later)

    November 14, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. helen

    unbelievable. If you knew the truth would come out why on earth would you do something like that? I for one will continue to support Sesame Street and Elmo...

    November 14, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. bigdumbdinosaur

    Here we go again: tax dollars subsidizing a program that actively promotes gays.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bignevermo

      well at least you have part of your name right...well maybe your whole name IS appropriate!

      November 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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