Kevin Clash, Elmo’s Puppeteer, Resigns From Sesame Street
The New York Times reports:
Kevin Clash, the longtime voice and puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Elmo character, has resigned in the aftermath of allegations — which Sesame Workshop had previously said were unfounded — that he had an underage sexual relationship. In a statement released Tuesday, Sesame Workshop said: Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street. Mr. Clash has played Elmo on “Sesame Street” for decades. He was profiled in a documentary last year, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” The sexual accusationswere made public last Monday, then later recantedby a 24-year-old man who has remained anonymous. The episode led to Mr. Clash coming out as a gay man, something he had not previously discussed in public. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter,” he said in the statement last week. Production of “Sesame Street” was unaffected by Mr. Clash’s leave of absence and presumably will not be affected by his resignation, either. Mr. Clash had been helping to identify other puppeteers who could play Elmo for some time, and they filled in for him while he was away from work, a Sesame Workshop executive said last week.
The mystery man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of engaging in an underage sexual relationship—only to recant the allegation a day later—is a struggling 24-year-old model/actor who was once arrested for the knifepoint robbery of $250,000 in jewelry from a music manager for whom he interned, The Smoking Gun has learned. Sheldon Stephens, who did not respond to e-mail and Facebook messages, describes himself as an “Entrepreneur, Student, Model, Actor” on his Twitter account, which is protected. His Facebook page’s “About” blurb notes, “I like to consider myself a rare breed. I’m very spontaneous and random…I’m determined and goal oriented. My destiny is laid on a solid gold brick pathway……. MY FUTURE IS BRIGHT and never will it dim.”
Puppeteer Kevin Clash ,Voice Of Sesame Street’s Elmo, Accused Of Relationship With Teenage Boy
Kevin Clash, the voice actor behindSesame Street’s beloved character Elmo, has taken a leave of absence after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.Earlier this summer, the accuser, then a 23-year-old man, reached out to Sesame Workshop alleging Clash had a relationship with him when he was still a minor.After the accuser came forward, Sesame Workshoptookimmediate action. The company “conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.
Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, [their] investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.”Clash, who would have been 45 years old at the time,acknowledgedthe relationship. However, he “insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult.”“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,” ClashtoldTMZ.Meanwhile, the accuser has hired the same firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky rape case.
Despite Clash’s absence, the company has no plans toremovethe character from the show. According to an official statement, Elmo “will continue to be an integral part ofSesame Street.”
UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the young man who accused Sesame Street actor Kevin Clash has recanted his claim that their relationship began when he was underage:
Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser said in a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.” The accuser’s identity has not been disclosed. Mr. Clash said through a spokesman: “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.” Sesame Workshop had no immediate comment on when Mr. Clash would return to work. On Monday, TMZ said that the accuser, now 24 years old, contacted Sesame Workshop last summer and claimed that, beginning at the age of 16, he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Clash.
A petition drive launched on Change.org asks the producers of Sesame Street to allow long-rumored boyfriends Bert and Ernie to marry.
Chicago resident Lair Scott started an online petition at Change.org to pressure the Sesame Street Workshop to “Let Bert & Ernie get married on Sesame Street.” The petition reads, “We are not asking Sesame Street to do anything crude or disrespectful…. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different.” As of this writing, the petition had collected more than 1,600 signatures. But are Bert and Ernie even gay, never mind ready for the ultimate commitment? Scott clearly thinks so. In an interview with ABC News.com, Scott said, “A lot of people have wondered about Bert and Ernie…. Living in the same bedroom and the same home would make anyone question their sexuality.” His aim, he added, is to get 20,000 petitioners to encourage the Sesame Workshop to either marry Bert and Ernie or introduce a gay or lesbian character.
Sesame Street has denied that Bert and Ernie are gay ever since the rumors started over 20 years ago. The usual response: “They are puppets. They don’t exist below the waist.”
No matter how many people sign a petition urging Bert and Ernie to come out of the closet and get married, PBS says the characters “are best friends” and nothing more. And fans might be surprised to learn that “even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as mostSesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.” The statement was posted by PBS on Facebook in response to a petition posted on Change.org. Proponents made the case that if the beloved Muppets were to come out, it “would show children and their parents that not only is it acceptable but also teach children that homophobia is wrong, bullying is wrong and that Sesame Street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show.” But that’s not how PBS sees its purpose. “Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the network said in its statement. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.”
WARNING: IQ 110+ only. Hi everybody! Welcome to my Blog. On my Web-Magazine you'll find a large variety of topics, from Gay Culture to Politics, Sexuality, Movies, Music, TV, News, Photography, Science, Literature, Religion (from an Atheist point of view), Technology (mostly Apple ), Latino Culture, and more.
I'm a Blogger, an Activist, a College Guy, and a Consultant in Social Responsibility.
I'm also a News Junkie, one of the contributors to the NYT Bestseller "ItGetsBetter" Book, a Cher devotee, a Nutella lover & a Dan Savage & Christopher Hitchens' loyal.
Feel free to re-blog, share and recommend. Enjoy!