Kevin Clash, the Baltimore native and Towson grad who provides the voice for the most beloved/detested Sesame Street character (Elmo!), is taking a leave of absence from the PBS show after denying an inappropriate relationship with a teenager.
According to CNN, this summer, Sesame Street Workshop was contacted by a 23 year-old man who said that he and Clash had “a relationship” beginning when he was 16. (CNN notes that the Workshop specifically did not use the word “sexual.”) The Workshop investigated the accusations and found them “unsubstantiated,” but still granted Clash the leave so he could, in their words, “take actions to protect his reputation.”
It’s tricky to read between the lines in such a fraught situation, but judging from Sesame Street’s press release, it seems as though Clash and his accuser did have some sort of friendship, at least; the Workshop refers to “a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace” and chastises Clash or “exercis[ing] poor judgment and violat[ing] company policy regarding internet usage.” The internet gossip vultures at TMZ report that Clash said that his relationship with his accuser “was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
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