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. Zaperdon

    Poor Elmo had his integrity questioned – the accuser should be ashamed of himself.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David 8

    There clearly is a stink to this story. Especially if money is involved in settling it. Clash needs to vacate the premises. NPR & PBS will look tainted with a not so clear resolution to this accusation. Clash is gay, creepy and associated with very bad judgement. Go away Clash and your over the top libido towards young males.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Rast

      So, a man in his 50s took a partner that was in their 20s. The relationship ended poorly. If the younger partner was a young woman, no one would think twice. Clash has been openly gay for 3 decades. If there wasn't a problem before this incident, why would you assume there is a problem now?

      November 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Smeagel4T

    Clearly congress needs to launch an in-depth investigation of this. After all, it's either that or worry about jobs.

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

      I am not sure why no news organization has come out and revealed who this person is that accused Cash of this lewd behavior when in essence it was a young gay guy who likes older men. Basically, the kid was dumped and exacted revenge on Cash by attempting to destroy him. I give Kudos to PBS and The CHildrens Factory for sticking by their employee without first dumping him.

      I hope this kid is revealed because Cash's reputation will forever be linked to this besides his voice being that of ELMO.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Val

    THEY NEED TO LIST THIS MAN'S NAME so that he can be humiliated just like he humiliated Kevin Clash

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

      I second that motion

      November 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Agreed.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.C.

      Third.

      But I don't think we'll have to wait long for him to appear on some 3rd rate talk show to pump every ounce out of the 15 minutes of fame he so desperately seeks. Maybe there'll be a book.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vern Sawyer

      More importantly, guys will know to never, ever sleep with him since he's a living drama-bomb.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Yes. Please get all of his, this dude's name, address, cell number, and facebook page.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • shirogami

      If his name were revealed then we could more easily cover his spendings of his newfound windfall...

      November 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fred Evil

    I take it you didn't read the story, missed him being entirely exonerated, and needed to go on a hysterical, inaccurate anti-gay rant anyways?
    Dumas.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred Evil

    Another anti-logic anti-gay poster. Did you read the story?
    It appears NOT.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fizziks

    Did you miss the part where the accuser recanted?

    November 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    So, you ruin a mans life – then recant it.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. wow

    So sad that a young man felt the need to publicly tarnish Mr. Clash's reputation. So people need to think before they act in haste!

    November 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. J.C.

    I blame Bush.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda Slater

    I knew it was a bunch of crap. That guy should be charged with something for lying.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    Sounds like Elmo made a last minute out-of-court monetary offer to get the "story" changed. I have no doubt that Elmo was involved in "horseplay" with that young man.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • pippin

      This is exactly the reason why this man's life will never be the same. Heaven forbid someone should come your way on day and make up a story that tarnishes you for the rest of your life. This young mn needs to pay for this unforgivable crime. Forever will this poor man have to live with this claim causing people like you to refuse to accept the facts.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Based on what??

      November 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • shirogami

      La-la, la-la. La-la, la-la. Elmo's cash.
      Here's a Hundred Thou$and
      Ok, here's Two
      That's Elmo's caaaaash!!!

      November 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ma & pa

    If you think they are the same thing, you are part of the problem. Examine your thinking and clean your mind in relation to children.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. robbie king

    wow....that check cleared fast

    November 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Todd

    This whole thing will be forgotten in (using the Count's voice) 5,4,3,2, 1....Ive forgotten this whole story in 5 SECONDS..FIVE!!.. HA-HA-HA-HA

    November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
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