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I’ve been debating all morning as to whether to discuss this here on The Rock Father or not, but since Sesame Workshop has issued a formal statement, I can’t really avoid it. If you haven’t heard, Kevin Clash, the Emmy-winning puppeteer and voice behind Elmo, has taken a leave of absence from SESAME STREET in the wake of allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy.

The official statement from Sesame Workshop:

In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a then 23 year old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo.

We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.

Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.

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, as it has for 40 years.Sesame Workshop, 11/12/12

Clash was recently the subject of the documentary BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY, one of the first films that I reviewed here on the site. He’s performed the character of Elmo for the past 27 years, and has become an icon in children’s entertainment himself, thus making today’s news all the more disheartening. 

TMZ reached out to Clash, who calls the accusations “false and defamatory.”

“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.”Kevin Clash to TMZ

Unfortunately, even if there was no relationship with a person that was underage, the image and reputation of Kevin Clash has been badly damaged.

I’m sure we’ll all be hearing much more about this in the days to come… Share your thoughts below…

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