ONTD Political

Accuser Recants Allegation Against Elmo Puppeteer

2:48 pm - 11/13/2012
The man who accused Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer of the “Sesame Street” character Elmo, of an underage sexual relationship has recanted that claim, his lawyer said on Tuesday. The reversal came a day after the claim was first published by the gossip Web site TMZ.

Mr. Clash has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Workshop, the organization that produces “Sesame Street,” to challenge the allegations.

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 spokeswoman: “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. But the organization said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “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.”

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.

The news threw one of the most trusted preschool properties into turmoil as Sesame Workshop moved quickly to protect its “Sesame Street” brand, estimated by Forbes to be worth more than $500 million.

Officials at Sesame Workshop said that they thoroughly investigated the accusation, using outside investigators, over several months and believe it to be false. Mr. Clash’s leave was granted Sunday after it became clear that the Web site TMZ was planning to run an article about the accusation.

Mr. Clash said in a statement on Monday that the relationship “was between two consenting adults” — something that the accuser seemed to admit on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Clash has achieved a measure of fame outside the show as the star of the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” The episode led to Mr. Clash coming out as a gay man, something he had not previously said 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.

source
chaya 14th-Nov-2012 01:05 am (UTC)
The title is a little misleading considering he's still saying a relationship happened, at all, which is what squicked everyone out in the first place.
rex_dart 14th-Nov-2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Clash admitted to a consensual adult relationship originally, so the title is accurate, as the only disputed claim was that it occurred when the guy was underage.
chaya 14th-Nov-2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Ah, maybe I misread. I assumed 'adult and consensual' didn't mean legally but ... emotionally, if that makes sense? As in, the young man didn't feel taken advantage of.
rex_dart 14th-Nov-2012 01:51 am (UTC)
Wasn't he married to a woman at the time? I assumed he was still closeted.
squeeful 14th-Nov-2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Depends on who had final say on the cut of the edit. As it's a docu about Elmo and at least partially aimed at children, a lot of people are going to remove anything to do with queerness under the banner of "too sexual" for children, even if Clash himself mentioned it in an interview done for the film.
teacoat 14th-Nov-2012 01:59 am (UTC)
There are plenty of celebrities that are out and proud in their personal life, but don't like it bleeding over into their professional life. Anderson Cooper comes to mind.
lone_concertina 14th-Nov-2012 02:14 am (UTC)
Why does it matter to you when and how loudly he speaks about his sexuality?
bestdaywelived 14th-Nov-2012 03:05 am (UTC)
I don't think he was open until he was forced to be so. At least, that's the impression I got from this situation.
poetic_pixie_13 14th-Nov-2012 06:11 am (UTC)
The fuck happened in this post?

But, since I apparently can't leave wank well enough alone, are we actually going to pretend like the whole sugar daddy subculture within queer male communities isn't a thing that happens? Like I said in the last post the first thing I thought about when I first heard about this story was that specific subculture. It's so pervasive and we need to stop trying to sweep it under the rug cause god forbid we unpack the fucked up shit that happens in our communities. Not only do we need to talk about this but it needs to be labelled as the predatory creepfest that it is and queer and trans folks need to stop acting as if talking about it is internalized homophobia or playing into the stereotype of queer men being pedophiles.

Most of these relationships happen when the younger guys are 18/19 but it's not uncommon for 'daddies' to be with guys who are underage. These younger guys often rely on their partners to help them navigate being queer and so are easily manipulated. Especially since a lot of these younger guys might have to face being disowned and kicked out if they're outed to their families. They feel indebted to their older partners and will often protect them even after the relationships have ended. Obviously not all queer men are predators nor are relationships where partners have a big age difference inherently bad. I really resent that idea that I, as a queer person who actively fights against these stereotypes, am somehow reinforcing those same ideas because I want to have an honest discussion about them.

This bullshit has a history within our communities and if we don't talk about it honestly it's not going to stop. I don't give a fuck if somehow talking about it reaffirms some homophobic asshats ideas about queer people being pedophiles. Let's be real, they're going to think that regardless. I'd rather focus on protecting our kids from predators and abusers.
roseofjuly 14th-Nov-2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Even if we do need to address this in our communities, is this post really an appropriate time to do that, and is radiovolume 's comments that basically Clash should've come out of the closet earlier because then they personally would've felt more comfortable/would've believed him more an appropriate vehicle for that conversation? I'm going to say no and no.
poetic_pixie_13 14th-Nov-2012 06:43 am (UTC)
I definitely don't think that Clash had any obligation to come out earlier. The only reason for someone to come out is because they themselves want to. But given the fact that Clash was 45 when he met that 16 year old I don't think it's inappropriate to talk about the cultures that enable this kind of relationship. This is part of a larger issue within our communities and needs to be talked about.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, all that being said since this seems to be a contentious thing to talk about wrt this story I'll stop commenting out of respect.
circumambulate 14th-Nov-2012 10:02 am (UTC)
While I agree that that is a thing, not my community so I'm going to leave it alone. What I do object to, however, is lumping Clash into that subculture with no evidence other than he had a relationship with a much younger man. There's no shortage of people over 40 dating people in their 20s, or younger, of any orientation, that doesn't make them chickenhawks.
pleasure_past 14th-Nov-2012 11:50 am (UTC)
Oh come on. You can reply to me directly.

When you say that it's a tradition for queer men to rape underage boys, I'm going to call it fucking homophobic no matter how much you normally fight against homophobic stereotypes. There are miles and miles of difference between "Queer youth are exceptionally vulnerable to predators in the queer community," which is true and terrible and something that we need to actively fight, and "Queer men like to rape young boys in the community." Notice how one treats "older queer men" and "rapists" as synonymous while the other doesn't? I have no problem with an honest discussion on why our young boys are so easily victimized and what we need to do to help them, including standing up to predators in our community in a way that we historically haven't. I have a big problem with an "honest" discussion that implies that all older queer men are rapists.

I explained why I feel young queer boys are exceptionally vulnerable and why the queer community as a whole is more easily manipulated by predators because I think a clear understanding of those points are absolutely critical to solving the problem, because without understanding them we don't have a prayer of making our youth any less vulnerable to sexual predators or of arming our community as a whole against the manipulations of sexual predators. "It's a tradition for queer men to rape young boys," is not helpful.

I think it's important to call out sexual predators in the queer community, and this case is no exception. I was also surprised by how very quickly everyone here seemed to accept that the accuser must have been lying the first time around and that everything must have been cool. Even if the accuser was over the age of 18, he was still likely extremely vulnerable and emotionally manipulated by a much older man in the way that young queer boys often are. The dynamics here were not okay for reasons that have very little to do with age. But this isn't a conversation about queer men and queer boys. It's a conversation about queer predators and queer boys, and I am going to continue to object to anything that tries to confuse that point.
poetic_pixie_13 14th-Nov-2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
.... none of what I said was directed at you or any other specific individual? I get that I dropped the conversation on the previous post but that was because I was busy. When I'm talking about people shutting down the conversation (which is what I assume think is directed at you) I'm talking about my experiences in general. Whenever this topic has come up, from a bunch of different folks, a lot of whom are queer men who've been in uncomfortable situations with older queer men, it gets shut down. And, like I said, it's frustrating.

To act as if age doesn't play into this is ridiculous. These predators (which is what I called them, I don't think I ever conflated queer predators with all queer men ever) use their wealth and status to manipulate young boys and their age plays a part of it. It's not the only thing, but it's still often a factor. I've explicitly said a number of times that all queer men are obviously not predators. I was talking about older queer dues that belong to that predatory daddy subculture (which is what I did refer to when talking about this). It's a culture that enables this to happen, much as there's a culture that enables older straight men to prey on young teen girls. Obviously, this dominant straight narrative informs and enables queer predators, but the way that manifests in our communities is definitely unique and needs to be talked about. Especially considering what you said in the past post about what makes our boys vulnerable.

I said before that tradition was probably the wrong word to use. What I meant to do was call back to the history of these subcultures within our communities, a history that goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. I obviously didn't do that well at all and I've already apologized for that.
crossfire 14th-Nov-2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
Except this wasn't a conversation between queer people about predators in our own community.
redstar826 14th-Nov-2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
good grief, this community sure has a knack for making god awful messes out of posts about queer people/queer issues
crossfire 14th-Nov-2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
/o\
fenris_lorsrai 14th-Nov-2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
Imagine if someone had used the wrong pronoun. There'd be another 200+ comments arguing about pronouns.
bettalaylow 16th-Nov-2012 08:41 am (UTC)
His actions only hurt Gay rights skating the lines of legal sex with a minor at the age of 45 is morally bankrupt. His actions are what homophobes point to when showing how Gay people are sexual deviants so he should get blasted for his actions.
bettalaylow I don't know if Clash is getting a pass because he's Elmo, a Gay man16th-Nov-2012 08:52 am (UTC)
or what but if this story had been about some asshole Conservative sleeping with a 17 yr old this post would be nothing full of bashing. I don't give a damn Clash is Gay I don't give a damn he voices Elmo what he did hear though maybe not illegal was still despicable. You take a messed up a kid and instead giving him guidance and mentoring or just saying hey this isn't a good idea you have sex with him.

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