The man behind the distinctive voice of Elmo from the popular children’s television broadcast Sesame Street came out as a homosexual today, taking a temporary leave of absence amid allegations that he had sexual relations years ago with a teenage boy.
While the unnamed accuser is now in his twenties, he states that he and Kevin Clash, 52, began having sex when he was 16. According to reports, Clash has admitted to engaging in intimate relations with the man, but refutes the age at which it began.
“I am a gay man,” Clash wrote in a statement today, who has been puppeteering Elmo since 1984. “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,” he continued. “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. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.”
Sesame Street Workshop likewise released a statement, providing further information about the situation.
“In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received communication from a then 23-year-old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action,” the statement reads. “We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.”
“Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined,” Sesame Street said.
The children’s organization states that it granted Clash a leave of absence to “protect his reputation” as he continues to assert that he waited until the man was of age to have relations with him.
“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years,” representatives concluded.
The accuser is stated to have hired an attorney that also represented students in the trial of Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.
In recent years, homosexual groups have urged Sesame Street to promote the same-sex lifestyle to children. Last year, after petition signatures were gathered requesting that Sesame Street perform a same-sex wedding with Bert and Ernie on the show, the organization declined. They stated that contrary to assertion by some, Bert and Ernie are not homosexuals.
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” Sesame Street wrote in a statement. “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
However, according to the Huffington Post, a number of homosexual celebrities have been featured on various broadcasts.
“We’ve always reached out to a variety of actors and athletes and celebrities to appear on the show, and our programming has always appealed to adults as much as children,” Sesame Street representatives stated.
Additionally, in 2002, the South African version of Sesame Street featured a new character that was HIV positive. While the company said that the introduction of the new character had nothing to do with homosexuality or the culture of the United States, others expressed disapproval of the move.
“The introduction of an HIV-infected Muppet on Sesame Street is problematic because HIV is spread primarily by homosexuals and bisexuals in the U.S.,” said the Traditional Values Coalition. “It is likely that an HIV-infected Muppet would be used to teach tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals to the preschool Sesame Street audience. In effect, this would be another propaganda tool to normalize homosexuality in our culture.”
Sesame Street did not return requests by Christian News Network for further comment on the matter.
Photo: Bill Thompson