Kevin Clash, the iconic voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, has taken a leave of absence from the show after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy more than seven years ago.
The now 23-year old man has recanted his allegations against the puppeteer.
“He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship,” according to a statement issued by the unidentified man’s representative, Andreozzi & Associates. “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
Although the event has not been officially canceled, signs promoting the event have been taken down.
“Both parties agreed to postpone his appearance,” stated Andrea Jones of University Relations in an email about the event.
Clash was slated to be the next speaker in Georgia State’s Distinguished Speaker Series on Wednesday, Nov.28. Campus Events Associate Director Carole Golder said the event is in a “holding pattern.”
Golder said they have talked to Clash’s speaking agency to figure out the best way to approach the situation.
“They really don’t know much more than we do,” Golder said.
She said Campus Events is “going to give it a day or two,” to see if there is some type of resolution to the allegations against Clash.
“The reason we booked him is still great,” Golder said.
Clash, now 52, said he was relieved and “will not discuss the matter further,” according to ABC News.
Sesame Workshop, the producer of the show, released a statement today stating they conducted an internal investigation about the matter:
“We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. 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 Workshop stated.
Clash has been the voice of Elmo since 1984.