This year marks the 45th anniversary of Sesame Street, folks! Back in ’69, it was the only programming targeted to target to urban kids of all races and nationalities, and it’s still one of the most inclusive, progressive shows on the air. Oh, and their celebrity guest spots rule. Where else could you see Tina Fey as a “Pirate of the Can-Be-Reading” — complete with a merry band of Bookaneers — growling a song about the awesomeness of books? Or how about that Usher spot that went viral last fall, where he sang his own silky, croon-y version of the Alphabet Song with Grover, Elmo and Abby Cadabby (so catchy, it could’ve been released as a single).
From Ricky Gervais to Charlize Theron, we’re addicted to these superstar Sesame Street skits.
It’s hard to catch a big break, and some stars get theirs performing for little ones. Everyone knows now that Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera all got their start on The Mickey Mouse Club, but did you know there are more children’s shows that spawned Disney stars than just ye olde MMC? Long before they were Disney starlets, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato were adorable tykes on Barney & Friends? Or that Ben Affleck‘s first claim to fame wasn’t being an actor or a director; he was a passenger on The Voyage of the Mimi.
Hearing that Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street following a lawsuit from a second accuser, this one a man in his 30s alleging the Elmo puppeteer had a relationship with him while he was underaged, was bad enough. Then we realized Clash was also the voice of Baby from the sitcom Dinosaurs and Splinter in the TMNT movies. Three things we loved as children…sullied. Of course, Clash’s crisis isn’t the first time a kids’ TV show has become embroiled in a scandal. In fact, it’s not even the first time Sesame Street has!
When Kevin Clash settled a lawsuit with the first man who said he had sex with him when he was just 16 years old and later recanted the accusation, we really wanted that to be the last we heard about Elmo’s rumored sex life. Unfortunately, no. Now a second man, now in his 30s, is suing the Sesame Street puppeteer for $5 million, according to TMZ, saying Clash had a sexual relationship with him in 1993, when he was 15. In the wake of this new lawsuit, Clash has turned his hiatus from Sesame Street into a full-on resignation.
“Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street,” Sesame Workshop told TMZ.
The second man, Cecil Singleton, alleges that Clash met him on a phone sex line nearly 20 years ago and took him out to dinner and gave him money to earn his trust. Singleton says in the suit that he didn’t come forward until now because he was not “aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.”
Sheldon Stephens, the first man to accuse Clash of having sex with him when he was 16, told lawers yesterday that he regretted the six-figure settlement because he did not want to recant his statement.
Clash has been the man behind Elmo since the ’80s. He also voiced Baby in the ’90s sitcom Dinosaurs and Splinter in the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.
Can we please actually be having a nightmare and once we wake up and hit the alarm discover this story never existed? Because even if it proves to be false, we feel permanently traumatized. Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, is currently taking a leave of absence from Sesame Street to “protect his reputation” after being accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy years ago. According to TMZ, Clash admits to having a relationship with the man, now 23, but insists that it began after the accuser was of age.
“It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not,” he told the site.
The Sesame Workshop says that lawyers conducted an investigation and believe Clash’s side of the story. But the accuser say the show is trying to silence him to protect the Elmo brand. Read more…
ABC Family’s dance-school-drama-in-a-quirky-town-comedy Bunheads, which premiered last night, has been getting all sorts of great buzz. Much of that’s coming from devotees of Gilmore Girls and show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. Personally, I’m withholding judgment — I think it suffered from serious pilot-itis, in which all of the characters and plot lines are introduced in rapid fire within 40-something minutes and now we have to care about what happens to them just because, now, go! The dialogue swung between snappy and sappy so much, I had whiplash. Also, even though I had plenty of advanced notice that the show would be nothing like Sophie Flack’s novel Bunheads, about ballerinas in New York City, I was still hoping it would retain some of its dance-or-die flavor. And I was very distracted by the fact that I really thought “Hubbell” was going to freak out, say “You made me make a phony phone call!” go catatonic and fall into the pool. But star Sutton Foster shone through it all, making me promise to myself that I’ll give episode two a shot.
Foster is that actress you see in something and then start racking your brain to think, “Where do I know that face from?” We thought we’d help you out with that, because you could know her from all sorts of places. And now you will know her from all of them. I knew her as Coco, the sign-holding girl who almost broke up Bret and Jemaine on Flight of the Conchords.
Katy Perry is too hot for Sesame Street. A video, released on YouTube by Sesame Street two days ago featuring Perry and Elmo singing a re-worked version of “Hot ‘N Cold”, has been removed and will not air on the show, after some parents deemed it too racy. We’d show you the video but it’s been scoured from the internet – TMZ has an abridged version you can watch though. And the photo above, which is one of Katy’s TwitPics, shows the raunchy outfit in question.
The video was shot all the way back in March, which means that producers had six months to watch it and in that time, they never considered it inappropriate. Frankly, we don’t see what the big deal is – cleavage is everywhere in the real world. Yes, this is Sesame Street and they are a children’s show and have certain obligations, but we don’t think they crossed a line here. We’re willing to bet that parents who are up in arms about this probably let their kids watch Dancing With The Stars, and those outfits make Katy’s dress look positively wholesome. Tell us, do you think her look too hot for PBS, or are people overreacting?