Kevin Clash, The Voice Of ‘Elmo,’ Is Accused Of Having Sex With An Underage Boy

The Voice Of 'Elmo' Takes A Leave Of Absence

Ugh. This is bad, ya’ll. If you have children or if you’ve ever been in the presence of any child anywhere, you know that Elmo from Sesame Street is a beloved, near-sacred being. Emmy Award-winning Kevin Clash (who voices the character) has become almost as well-known as the face of Elmo himself (well, maybe not ‘almost,’ but he’s recognizable to some of us). It saddens and sickens me to report that he has been accused of having sex with a minor. The two admittedly entered into a relationship when the boy was 16 and Kevin was 45, though Kevin claims the relationship never got sexual until after the boy was of age. Yeah. No. Deets inside.

TMZ has the report. It’s bad:

Kevin Clash – the man known as the voice of Elmo – has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street in the wake of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, TMZ has learned  … allegations Clash adamantly denies.

We’ve learned … Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with a 23-year-old man who claims he and Clash began a sexual relationship 7 years ago … when he was 16 and Clash was 45.

Clash has acknowledged to TMZ he had a relationship with the young man — but insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ … “In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old.  This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action.”

Sesame Workshop officials acknowledge to TMZ they met with the accuser twice and had a number of other communications with him.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell TMZ … after the accuser’s initial meeting with Sesame Street, the accuser felt Sesame Workshop’s lawyers were trying to muzzle him … so he lawyered up with Andreozzi and Associates — the firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.

On August 15, 2012 … Andreozzi fired off a letter to Sesame, accusing the company of trying to “discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters,” adding, “This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man.”

Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ  … they conducted a thorough investigation and determined the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated.  They say they never tried to silence the accuser — rather they asked for evidence supporting his claim, but he never produced it.

Officials also tell us they’re suspicious because the accuser has an email which TMZ obtained — purportedly sent to him by Clash, acknowledging they had the affair when he was 16.  The officials say the accuser never mentioned such an email existed and they believe it’s fraudulent.

But there were other emails between Clash and the accuser, and although they don’t suggest there was underage sex, officials tell us they disciplined him for inappropriate use of company email.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ … “Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation.  We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.”

It is unclear why Clash wanted a leave of absence, since he denies the allegations of underage sex.

As for Clash, the voice actor tells TMZ, “I had a relationship with [the accuser].  It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”  Clash calls the accusations false and defamatory.

Finally Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ the puppet is alive and well: “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.”

I cannot believe this is real! I mean, clearly Kevin was a grown-ass man when he met this teenager. But I guess we’re supposed to believe he respectfully waited two years before doing anything sexual… which is totally possible. But the fact that he was even okay with “talking” to a 16 year-old leaves me hella suspicious. Ugh. I just hate stuff like this. And I can’t help but think of that old Saturday Night Live skit where all these stars from a children’s show start getting arrested for serious crimes… it was hilarious as a skit. But the reality of it all is something else entirely.

Based on the bit of info that we have here, how does this story sound to you? Do you think Kevin Clash is innocent? It’s so hard to say, but I could totally see Sesame Street trying like hell to make the whole thing (including the accuser) go away. We saw plenty of that with the Sandusky case. But it’s out there now and hopefully the whole truth will come out and justice will be served.

Yeah. I still cannot believe this…

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  1. overit

    isn’t it a little weird / coincedental… that this comes out about PBS’ Sesame Street – a normally squeaky clean show and enterprise – right after the elections where it was brought up as a representative sacrificial lamb for romney’s part? maybe a stretch, but that’s a little random…. and weirder things have happened.

    • I think it would be more of a coincidence if Romney won and therefore needed a nice swift excuse. As it stands I think it unlikely.

    • You’re not suggesting that had this come out before the election that Obama would have lost and Romney won?? That’s weird!

    • overit

      i’m not suggesting that at all! i just think it’s weird that a story that was already supposedly going on for 9 yrs that involves smacktalking a franchise as wholesome as Sesame Street… gets a black eye for the second time in a month. sounds like a possible grumpy hand behind it to me. just sayin.

    • I see. That is much less weird!

  2. I find it REALLY hard to believe if he did have a relationship with the 16 year old that he waited two years to get physical. That just seems unlikely. I’m sure it is POSSIBLE. Just not likely. No matter what, though, this is sad. I hope this doesn’t hurt Sesame Street or Elmo much. Little kids don’t deserve that.

  3. I don’t want to believe it. I saw the documentary about him (it is on netflix everyone should watch it, it is amazing/inspiring) so don’t want to believe it as he appears to be a great guy. He has done so much for Sesame Street, they must be pretty scared about a scandal coming out especially as he has had a lot of contact with children throughout his career.

  4. Ugh….Kevin Clash always seemed like a stand up guy so this is distressing. Then again, just look to the Sandusky case and the huge Jimmy Saville’s case in England and there could be truth to this story.

  5. Silly

    I want to know why “sesame street officials” and lawyers were involved and not the police.

  6. From what I’ve seen/ read/ heard about Kevin Clash, it would make sense that he took time to get to know someone before it became more serious particularly since he works with kids and his reputation is paramount and 7 yrs is not a flash in the pants predator type relationship. The other guy has been in it as a consenting adult for at least 5 yrs so it’s suspicious why he’s lawyering up now. Innocent until proven guilty I say even tho this is particularly bad timing to report a crime like this when you consider how Sandusky and Saville preyed on kids and just got caught.

  7. Clash’s leave of absence might have been forced by his bosses – a sort of “lay low while we figure all of this out.”

    I would like to know what the victim wanted out of this. Did he contact the studios because he wanted to give them a heads up as to the kind of person Clash was (i.e. someone who shouldn’t be working with children)? Was it to give them the chance to do the right thing (fire him)? Why didn’t the alleged victim go to the police?

    I’m not calling him a liar, by the way. I just wonder what’s the whole story.

  8. Lexie

    This is so disappointing!!! I’d like to say innocent until proven guilty, but either way, that age gap is way too big for a serious relationship, physical or not.

  9. ck1

    Ugh! So disappointed. I saw the documentary on Netflix a couple weeks ago, having known nothing about Kevin Clash, or really much about Elmo. I really liked him and thought he was very upstanding. How can this happen? I just keep shaking my head and saying, “Say it isn’t so.”

    Yes, so what does the accuser want from this?????

    And you know this is cause for a million bad Muppet jokes…

  10. Shannon m

    Tickle me Elmo just got awkward.

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