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.
[Photo: Getty Images]
It looks like this Elmo puppeteer sex scandal will be over sooner then we thought, which almost makes up for the fact we had to type the phrase “Elmo puppeteer sex scandal” in the first place. Almost…but not quite. It’s only been a day since news broke that Elmo’s puppeteer Kevin Clash would be taking a leave of absence from Sesame Street following allegations he had had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy, but apparently his accuser has already recanted his story. “[H]e wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship,” the law firm Andreozzi & Associates told the New York Times while allegedly representing the accuser, concluding, “He will have no further comment on the matter.” The only question now is, does anyone have one of those brain eraser thingies from Men In Black so we can all forget this ever, everyhappened? Because yuck. Good lord, yuck.
Clash had maintained from the beginning that, while he had contact with the accuser since he was 16, their sexual relationship did not start until the boy was of age. “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further,” he said through his spokeswoman today. The Sesame Workshop also issued a statement this afternoon, declaring “We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.” Great, so the rest of us only have to get through one more night of nightmarish Elmo-related double entendre and we’ll be all set! All set to never, ever, ever have to talk about this again!
[Photo: Getty Images]
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.
Now that Nickelodeon is rebooting the uber-popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, beginning this Saturday morning, a whole new generation will be shouting “Cowabunga!” as they imagine a life of fighting crime and eating pizza. Rob Paulsen, who voiced Raphael in the 1987 cartoon series, is back as Donatello, and he told VH1 and fellow stars Jason Biggs, Sean Astin and Greg Cipes about the privileges associated with being a turtle. “When you work on something this iconic … you make a phone call to a child in a hospital, or you show up at a friend’s kid’s birthday party or you go show up in the hospital — whatever it is, the impact that the Turtles have on children is so profound, way beyond action figures, ratings, all of that,” he said. “I now get email and notes from people I talked to 20 years ago.”
We’re happy to see Paulsen back doing what he loves, but that got us wondering what has become of the stars of the equally beloved and maligned TMNT movies of the ’90s. Those live-action flicks featured appearances by the likes of Vanilla Ice, Elias Koteas and Paige Turco, not to mention the voice talents of Corey Feldman and Kevin Clash, whom many of you might know as the voice of Elmo. Take a look at the career highlights of a number of the stars of the first three movies, and then relive a little of your childhood magic by tuning in to TMNT this Saturday!