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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
31.

static    

Guilty.

525 days ago
32.

lol    

Age of consent in almost every state is 16. In some states, it's even lower. Even in the few states where the age of consent is over 16, there are usually special rules about sexual contact with someone 16-17 years old (usually a minor misdemeanor etc, not statutory rape).

Nothing to see here. Just some kid who is trying to make some quick money off of his own poor decisions.

525 days ago
33.

the artist formerly known as hand turkey    

According to some here, if an adult male has a relationship with a male under 18, all gay people are pedos. So, by that same logic, if an adult male has a relationship with a female under 18, all straight people are pedos.

I hope this accusation isn't true, I watched the do***entary about this guy, "Being Elmo" and I thought his story was very inspirational.

525 days ago
34.

paul a.    

And all you Obama-bots made endless fun of Romney and Big Bird. What will you do now, I wonder?

525 days ago
35.

Luna    

Why don't they just lower the age of consent to 16 already. In Europe it is 16. At 16 you are fully aware of sex. Stop spending tax dollars on sending people to jail for having sex with a16 year.
At 16 I knew exactly what I was doing.

525 days ago
36.

reader    

well here is our (borrowed from China) federal money hard at work. but hey, big bird is safe so we taxpayers can shell out more money to defend this. Whew that was a close one big bird.

525 days ago
37.

fargone    

I knew it all along. Elmo is gay.

525 days ago
38.

customcalendars4u2    

I watched a Kevin Clash Do***entary on Being Elmo "A Puppeteers Journey" and I found it to be very interesting in many ways from the history of it, to how the puppets are made and Kevin's developed interest in doll making as a child himself. I don't think any parent should stifle their child's creativity, because who knows where it may lead them in a successful career, but I think the signs(homosexuality) were probably always there and he masked them by marrying women later on as an adult. This revelation however; is very disturbing to me personally, because who knows how many young boys he's fantasized about while working in a child infested industry. I will NEVER look at Elmo the same again and can't support the Elmo Brand, because Kevin Clash has tarnished,smeared,destroyed,smutted and DEFILED poor Elmo's image.... R.I.P Elmo you had a great adventure & a *hitty(no pun intended) ending!!

525 days ago
39.

Sally    

Oh Elmo, say it isn't so? How low can we go, alledgedly ?

525 days ago
40.

Sally    

There are a couple of characters on Nickelodean that appear to be suspicious - hope the powers that be will check them out..

525 days ago
41.

jenny ruby    

you wonder why i resign
really its normal for companies to say
the "main act" has died or is in jail for rape
or whatever the story was
when these emails were brought to the attention of the company i was told 2 weeks later
no one even asked me
but yet they confront me as some sort of twisted game
That is not professional behavior
If I pay peoples salary why does this
the way im treated.
I only wanted the best for The twins.
i never tried to hurt them.
Im officially done. I resign . I want nothing to do with this stuff anymore.
lies after lie. I have never seen so much bad behavior over money.
I dont want a manager cause i quit.
I dont want a business anything I have
I am selling in the future. Im done with this crap.
I will obtain my own legal department
and get my name and stuff out of your hands. This is Not how a busness operates.

525 days ago
42.

Gigi    

Kevin Clash is a wonderfully gifted man who has brought countless joy to all of my children. He has my full support, as a fan and as a mother, until there is some proof of wrongdoing. I can only hope that Sesame Street does not take the road that so many high profile organizations do, and fire him without real facts.

525 days ago
43.

LISA    

This looks like a rather obvious attempt at blackmail ~ especially since the alleged victim ‘lawyered up’ when Sesame Workshop decided to do an investigation rather than offer hush money.

525 days ago
44.

Dee    

I am heart broken.

525 days ago
45.

MyTmar    

I guess he got tired of tickling Elmo lol ...hope the allegations aren't true-- a person's life can be ruined by false accusations. Mr. Clash seems like a nice guy-I watched the do***entary on him that was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg & it was pretty good !

525 days ago
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