Kevin Clash Elmo, Getty Images
Kevin Clash, Elmo, Getty Images
UPDATE (11/14): The man who accused Kevin Clash of sexual abuse has withdrawn his allegations. News 2 posted this update on our website on 11/13.
And now the man behind Sesame Street's famous ticklish Muppet Elmo, Kevin Clash, is becoming known.
News is emerging that Clash, 52, has taken a leave of absence from the kids show following allegations that he had a relationship with a boy, who was 16.
The Sesame Workshop says the puppeteer denies the charges, which were first made in June by the alleged partner, who by then had turned 23.
TMZ says Clash has acknowledged the relationship, but says it took place only after the boy was a consenting adult.
In a statement issued Monday, Sesame Workshop said its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," says Sesame Street. "We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding Internet usage and he was disciplined."
Sesame Street goes on to say: "Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so."
No duration for the leave was specified. Clash has voiced and animated Elmo since the 1980's.