“Elmo” Accuser Has Recanted

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One of the year’s more disturbing scandals is apparently at an end, with the news that the man accusing the puppeteer who voices Elmo of an under-age sexual relationship has recanted.

According to the New York Times, the man who claimed his relationship with Kevin Clash began when he was under 18 has announced that the relationship was in fact consensual and took place when both men were adults. Sesame Workshop, which produces Sesame Street, had reached a similar conclusion in its own investigation, before Clash announced a leave of absence.

The 52-year-old Clash, who is divorced and has a daughter, issued a statement Tuesday that he is “a gay man, I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.” He admitted to a relationship with the accuser but insisted it began when he was an adult.

I happen to have two Elmo-loving small children; in fact, I was watching Sesame Street with my son at the very moment I heard about the Clash allegations. I watched last year’s documentary featuring Clash, “Being Elmo,” and found him both a fascinating figure and an inspiring one, often performing Elmo for hospitalized children and doing other such good works. It remains to be seen whether perceptions of the Elmo character are affected by this episode.

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