Kevin Clash’s Accuser Recants Allegations Of Sexual Abuse Against The Voice Of ‘Elmo’


Okay, here’s my problem. Now that Kevin Clash’s accuser has recanted his previous allegations of sexual abuse, we should all be relieved right? Because it, potentially means that Clash was innocent of the charges and we can all go back to loving Elmo with little-to-no awkwardness in our souls. However, it also means that we have one more person in the world who made up a sexual abuse story (for whatever reason), making it that much harder for actual cases of sexual abuse to be taken seriously. And then again– as PITNBR Lynne pointed out– “Elmo” might have written someone a big fat check. So yeah, I’m kinda pissed about this whole movement. Click inside for more; hopefully you can feel me SMH as I type. Madness.

Special thanks to PITNBRS Hannah and laura h, who both broke the story on our last Kevin Clash post. E! has the update:

Good news for Elmo: Kevin Clash’s accuser is changing his tune.

The now-23-year-old man who accused the famed puppeteer of an illegal relationship has recanted his allegations and now says that the two had an “adult consensual relationship” as Clash previously claimed.

The accuser’s attorney released a statement to E! News, clarifying the nature of his relationship with 52-year-old Clash.

“This office represented the 23-year-old man who was the subject of many media reports regarding Kevin Clash. He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter.”

Clash also issued his own statement in response:

“I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest,” the Emmy-winning Muppet man said. “I will not discuss it further.”

Sesame Street Workshop has also responded to matter via a statement on its website that “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.”

Strangely enough, on the New York Times website, a lot of people are blaming TMZ for breaking this story before getting more info on the allegations. Some say that Clash’s reputation is tarnished forever (true) because of a gossip site. Now I read and shared TMZ’s report and while it was shocking, I thought they specifically tried to point out that Kevin Clash was denying the allegations the whole time. And just because the accuser recanted the story later, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have known about the initial accusations… right? I mean, this is a good argument against gossip sites… so obviously I’m a bit opposed to it. But the bottom line (IMO) is that TMZ did not send those e-mails from Kevin Clash’s work desk, making them available to the public. TMZ also didn’t begin a (allegedly non-sexual)  relationship with a teenaged boy. That was allll Kevin Clash. I understand that Clash is a brilliant, talented man with a great story (many of you have recommended the documentary on him, which I’ve been meaning to watch, Being Elmo), but like many people in the public light, he will never achieve true privacy.

However, I do find it unfortunate that he was forced to come out as a result of all of this. I’m only recently learning about how important it is to really do something like that on your own terms.

As far as the anonymous accuser goes, I’m pissed at him too. He was either lying from the beginning, or he was paid off to recant his story, or he just decided to drop the whole thing because he was reeeallly busy gearing up for the Twilight: Breaking Dawn- Part 2 premiere. I know I don’t know everything behind this, but it’s still… infuriating. Every story like this (where someone screams ‘rape’ or ‘statutory rape’ or ‘sexual abuse’)  does so much effing damage to the real cases of such acts. The fact that so many people kind of roll their eyes when a celebrity (or any person of so-called high rank) gets accused of something like this is proof that all of the ‘crying wolf’ out there or recanting, or even settling out of court is bad, bad, bad for the other, real victims everywhere. Do you guys know what I mean? If I’m ranting, it’s because this is the story I woke up to, and it’s just bad! Good news for Elmo, bad news for a lot of other people, and for a society that already participates in victim-blaming. What I mean is, when the next sexual abuse story gets reported (whether we’re aware of it or not), many of us will be waiting for the victim to recant. Stories like Kevin Clash’s may end up becoming yesterday’s news, but they also become a part of our own psyches and affect the way we think– again– whether we know it or not.

Okay, rant complete (for now). What do you guys think about this news?



  • Zorbitor

    Since we supposedly have a right to face our accusers and since 18 is the legal age of adulthood, IMHO accusers should not be anonymous unless they are 17 or younger, regardless of the alleged crime. I realize this goes against victims rights ideology but there you have it.

    • Shannon

      Zorbitor, others suggested the same. I, too, can’t help but be curious as to who this person is but legally they have the right to privacy and anonymity.

    • zorbitor

      Yep – one of the few “protected” classes of people who have the right to privacy – which the rest of us don’t have at all. Perhaps it would be less irksome if once in a while people were actually prosecuted for bearing false witness, which is a crime – but that never happens. If it did, lawyers would lose a lot of business.

    • Shannon

      zorbitor, good point. And as AwesomeMargie implied down below, we should be able to punish people for lying. In fact, if Clash is indeed innocent, he could certainly make a case against this person.

    • Timothy P

      We don’t know that he “lied.” All we know is that he is no longer saying anything criminal happened. I am not trusting Elmo’s hands are entirely clean of anything just yet.

  • Bucktownboy

    The reality is, in most of these cases, accusers come after stars so that they will write a check and make it all go away. I think it is inappropriate and irresponsible to even imply that the man, who should be presumed innocent, is actually a molester who simply paid his accuser off.

    You should be ashamed.

    • Shannon

      Bucktownboy, ‘in most of these cases, accusers come after stars so that they will write a check and make it all go away.’ That’s exactly the mentality that I’m afraid of developing. I’m not a judge, so I don’t have to presume Kevin Clash innocent. He admitted to having a relationship with a 16 year old boy, and it is COMPLETELY possible that he paid the accuser off. It is also COMPLETELY possible that the accuser did exactly as you say. I wouldn’t be more or less surprised if either version of the story was true. I just tried to present multiple, possible narratives. I have plenty to be ashamed of in life, this post isn’t one of them, lol. But I thank you for sharing an honest comment.

    • Timothy P

      We know that something went on between the two of them and we know that Elmo is more than 20 years older than the accuser. So it seems maybe the acts were not illegal, but that doesn’t make them sexually responsible or something other than a little creepy…

  • Meghan

    Ugh…this is just a terrible set of circumstances all around. Clash did some inappropriate things, the accuser seems to have lied and it’s all out in the open. I wonder if this was a relationship that ended badly and the accuser wanted to try to ruin Clash’s career with these allegations and if that’s the case he is an awful, awful person. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clash ends up leaving Sesame Street and they recast Elmo.

    • Shannon

      Meghan, ‘I wonder if this was a relationship that ended badly and the accuser wanted to try to ruin Clash’s career with these allegations’– also, totally and completely possible. And repulsive.

  • AwesomeMargie

    I agree with you, Shannon. It tarnishes all legitimate sex crimes because it just makes it that much more harder on true victims to prove their claims. However, at the same time, if someone is accusing you of such crimes, they should be proven. Ugh. Basically, I hate liars. Can we punish liars?

    • Shannon

      AwesomeMargie, ‘Can we punish liars?’ LMAO. I sincerely hope so.

    • AwesomeMargie

      False accusations tarnish people’s reputations. It’s painful enough to be a victim of heinous crimes but I’m sure it’s painful to be accused of something that isn’t true. It’s such a shame. We shall see. :(

    • Timothy P

      We do not have any prrof he is a liar. All we know is that he recanted his statements because maybe he realized he was not technically under the age of consent. It doesnt change that a 40something man had sex with a teenager!

  • swile71

    It reminds me of when Michael Jackson was accused of molesting children. All of a sudden it mysteriously went away. It definitely reeks of a payoff.

  • Syslak

    If this were me, and I was 16 year old who was being hit on by a 40 year old who was just waiting until I turned 18 (and even if we didn’t have sex until I was 21 or whatever), I would have seriously messed with my head and I would be pissed. I would feel taken advantage of, and even if it was legal, it really would have been wrong. BUT not illegal. So, it may be true that the individual feels “victimised” even if it was all legal. Some people can handle that at 16, some can’t.

  • MJ

    Shannon, this whole story makes me sad…for the very reasons you stated. Clash is a grown man who made some very questionable choices. I’m sure that while the story might be gone from the headlines, he might not so easily escape the consequences.

    BTW, I totally just read your “Coming Out as an Abstract Art” piece. Can I just say how much I loved it? Your straight girl perspective is totally awesome, I might just have a tiny girlcrush. :) Also, Trent…love him. As a gay woman, I have always admired his approach to dealing with gay celebs. His support and understanding of the closeted is one of the many reasons why I’ve been a reader since the “teacher Trent” days.

    • Shannon

      MJ, girlcrush away, lol! I’m glad you got to read that piece; it was such a cool experience to write it. My first collaborative effort with Trent, lol :)

  • Ella

    Posted this on the other board:
    I still feel icky about this story. A 23 year old has to have the shakiest of moral compasses if they would put someone through this for money or notoriety(we’ll see if he ever decides to sell his story). Whether he was paid off or was simply lying, you have to wonder what this kid’s life was like before he was legal. At risk youth?
    Despite the dropped allegations there is still something decidedly shady about Clash talking to this kid before he was legal and then starting a sexual relationship with him. It sounds too much like grooming to me.
    While those of us that are just curious may never really know what happened, this story may have permanently ruined a man’s reputation and made the world that much harder for victims who are afraid to speak out.

  • Paul

    It is precisely because sexual abuse stories are taken seriously that this was an issue for Kevin Clash. Our society’s perspective has changed considerably on this subject.

    • zorbitor

      That victims can get payments in the six figures… that’s quite a change as well.

  • zorbitor

    When teenagers make the “adult” choice to drink alcohol they are charged with an offense and punished (at times harshly) and are certainly not told that “It’s not their fault” ….
    We could lower the age of sexual consent to 16 but, if not, then I propose we make sex with someone 18 or over a punishable offense as well. Of course that will never happen. The lawyers, 2nd wave feminists, recovery counselors, and fundamentalists would have a fit.

    • Timothy P

      That is completely irresponsible idea! I can totally see someone being sexually abused but then being told the evidence points that they were seducing the older person so THEY are being charged. In fact this is happening rght nowin CA to a girl who was molested at 12 by her teacher. So no, terrible idea.

    • zorbitor

      it begs the question why didn’t she scream, run, fight back or report him/her. Kids don’t usually respect or like their teachers THAT much.

  • Serenity

    I want to believe that Clash’s accuser was just a jilted lover or something. I’m hesitant to condemn him (the accuser) because sometimes victims really are silenced or coerced into recanting, because there’s no chance of them winning, or because the party with more money/connections will make things difficult if they pursue legal action.

  • Timothy P

    Well, this doesn’t mean NOTHING inapproptiate happened. It probably means that the child was not underage when they had a probably consensual sexual relationship A 40-something guy with an 18 (or whatever the age of consent is) is not illegal but it is still kind of icky and on the border of hebephilia {(the correct term since pedophilia relates to pre-teens). It still doesn’t clear the Elmo guy into being America’s smartest most sexually responsible person! But woo hoo no criminal activity, I guess (??)