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Voice of Elmo

Denies Sex w/ Underage Boy

Takes Leave of Absence from Sesame Street

11/12/2012 10:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Elmo Voice Actor Kevin ClashKevin Clash -- the man known as the voice of Elmo -- has taken a leave of absence from Sesame Street in the wake of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, TMZ has learned ... allegations Clash adamantly denies.

We've learned ... Sesame Workshop lawyers recently met with a 23-year-old man who claims he and Clash began a sexual relationship 7 years ago ... when he was 16 and Clash was 45.

Clash has acknowledged to TMZ he had a relationship with the young man -- but insists it only took place AFTER the accuser was an adult.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ ... "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."

Sesame Workshop officials acknowledge to TMZ they met with the accuser twice and had a number of other communications with him.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell TMZ ... after the accuser's initial meeting with Sesame Street, the accuser felt Sesame Workshop's lawyers were trying to muzzle him ... so he lawyered up with Andreozzi and Associates -- the firm that represented one of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case.

On August 15, 2012 ... Andreozzi fired off a letter to Sesame, accusing the company of trying to "discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters," adding, "This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the well being of a young man."

Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ ... they conducted a thorough investigation and determined the allegation of underage sex was unsubstantiated. They say they never tried to silence the accuser -- rather they asked for evidence supporting his claim, but he never produced it.

Officials also tell us they're suspicious because the accuser has an email which TMZ obtained -- purportedly sent to him by Clash, acknowledging they had the affair when he was 16. The officials say the accuser never mentioned such an email existed and they believe it's fraudulent.

But there were other emails between Clash and the accuser, and although they don't suggest there was underage sex, officials tell us they disciplined him for inappropriate use of company email.

Sesame Workshop honchos tell TMZ ... "Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so."

It is unclear why Clash wanted a leave of absence, since he denies the allegations of underage sex.

As for Clash, the voice actor tells TMZ, "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."  Clash calls the accusations false and defamatory.

Finally Sesame Workshop officials tell TMZ the puppet is alive and well: "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."

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330 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

BB not bb    

I never liked the Elmo charcter anyway. It seemed to immature. Now it turns out the voice is of an older gay man who is into younger gay men. Regardelss of whether the affair started at the age of 16 or 18, it is still not very wholesome sounding.


They probably have alot of strange people working on Sesame Street. I don't know that puppeteers are very mainstream people to begin with.


If it isn't Romney attacking Sesame Street, it is someone who had an affair with Elmo's alter ego.

608 days ago
17.

Michel    

The huge age difference between the two aside I still think it's so strange that you can drive a car in the USA at age 16 but cannot have sex at that same age...

608 days ago
18.

dee123    

Hmm.... Honestly don't know who to believe. Part of me thinks this could be true & is horrible while the other part thinks this is all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

608 days ago
19.

Truth    

MEHHH... SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER ARIAL WINTER STORY. MAN, WHENEVER IT'S A SLOW NEWSDAY FOR REAL CELEBS HARVEY JUST PUTS OUT THE PEDOFILE AND CHILD ABUSE HE SAID/SHE SAID STORIES JUST TO GET HITS. YAAAWWWN, ZZZzzzzzz!!! #TRUTH!!

608 days ago
20.

Crazy Cat Lady    

Elmo, Elmo, Elmo...how could you?

608 days ago
21.

HumanNature    

LONG LIVE THE KING OF "ALL" ELMO's VOICES, KEVIN CLASH!!!

608 days ago
22.

namers    

"...and they call it Puppet loooove..."

608 days ago
23.

TMZ_Admin    

Kermit the Frog said Monday that he "warned" fellow Sesame Street character Elmo.

The 57-year-old Emmy winner was dining at the Wolseley restaurant in London when a photographer told him about Elmo's transgressions.

After saying, "That's awful," Kermit added "I warned him," and refused to elaborate.

608 days ago
24.

LCS27    

consolation prize for Romey. Sesame Street is actually gay pedo crap TV Show

608 days ago
25.

Candy    

Yea! Tickle me Elmo....I know what he meant by that now!

608 days ago
26.

Texas Gal    

....and, Tickle Me Elmo takes on a whole new meaning.

608 days ago
27.

get real    

Now Ive heard Everything.... Elmo Is Gay! Elmo is a Perv! Clash said he did have a Relationship with the Guy, AFTER he was 18... Clash is a 45 year old man. The Kid is 23. The Kid is Probably SCorned. Clash Admits the Adult Relationship/ Clash is A Perv..... The Young Man Scorned.. Either way, I believe the affair did start at 16.... ELMo... Elmo... Elmo.... Gay? Elmo is a Perv!

608 days ago
28.

verlinda    

The article says, officials believe the email is fraudulent. Before I pass judgment I'll wait for more info

608 days ago
29.

Mrs Wright    

Why would you go to someone's place of employment first? I'm going to keep my mouth shut because you never know, but this seems a little strange to me.

608 days ago
30.

cobrazombie    

Elmo's face says it all.

608 days ago
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