web
counter

the walking dead / snl / mindhole blowers / netflix / celebrity facts / marvel / liveblogging the 90s


Kevin Clash, the Voice of Elmo, Accused of Sleeping with an Underage Boy

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | November 12, 2012 | Comments ()


Elmo.jpg

So, this is terrible, and is maybe the worst way to start your week, but Kevin Clash -- who many of you probably fell in love with while watching the documentary Being Elmo: The Voice of a Puppeteer -- is taking leave of "Sesame Street" after accusations have been leveled against him for having a relationship with a 16-year-old boy. What gives the allegations particular bite is that they come from the 16-year-old boy (who is now 23) and that Clash does not deny them, although he claims that the relationship did not begin until after the kid became an adult. Clash was 45 when he allegedly began the sexual relationship with the 16 year old.

Lawyers have gotten involved, and though Clash denies the allegations, he's the one who asked for a leave of absence.

Either way, it's a blow to the reputation of Elmo, who has been voiced by Clash since the beginning, if only because it's squicky to know that the voice of Elmo was having sex with anyone, much less a 16-year-old boy. Hopefully, however, the allegations will prove merit-less.

Elmo will be voiced by someone else in the interim.

(Source: TMZ)







Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Bodhi

    Just so I am clear, he is accused of being in a sexual relationship with a 16yo not of abuse of a 16yo, correct? Putting aside whether or not the relationship itself constitutes abuse, I just want to understand exactly what is going on here.

    I am not sure how I feel about this (other than the episode of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me with Kevin/Elmo as the guest on Not My Job was hilarious). Honestly, I think depends on the maturity level of the then-16yo. (Its a cop-out, I know). Some 16yo are mature enough to enter a sexual relationship with an older person and some are not.

    Either way, this made me feel all kinds of icky. I watch Elmo with my toddler everyday and now I'm never going to be able to look at that furry red monster the same way

  • Pookie

    Clash: Honey, I got something to tell you.

    Old lady: What is it baby.

    Clash: I’ve been unfaithful to you, I’m sorry I just don’t know what happened, I’m truly sorry for hurting our family.

    Old lady: How could you do this to our family, I’m hurt, wasn’t I enough for you, I thought we were happy. What did she have that I didn’t?

    Clash: It wasn’t a woman.

    Old lady: What? What did you say?

    Clash: It was a man, at least I thought it was a man.

    Old lady: Oh god! Can it get any worst?

    Clash: Umm….

  • TheEmpress

    When I think of this in the context of the moral outrage people showed for everyone involved in the Courtney Stodden/Doug Hutchinson relationship I am...puzzled.

    Also, did anyone know the name Kevin Clash before the movie came out last year? He seems to have kept a pretty low profile before then. Can we acknowledge that it's at least possible that the accuser, who waited 7 years, after the relationship/abuse started to come forward, is after something other than justice?

  • googergieger

    Well guilty or innocent, everyone is going to think he is guilty from now on. Kind of the world we live in.

    If he was a dude and the teenager was a chick this wouldn't be an issue though. It'd be two people on that one reality show on VH1. And they'd be married.

    And if he was a chick and the teenager was a dude, it wouldn't be an issue either. It'd be the host of their new talk show.

    Again the kind of world we live in. Well America.

    *downs vodka*

  • apsutter

    People are genuinely creeped out and disturbed by the child bride known as Courtney Stodden. That whole situation was disgusting and he is the ultimate sick old man. The worst part about that whole situation is how her mom had everything to do with it. But I definitely understand you're argument and agree.

  • abacus123

    Goodness, a likable entertainer is being accused of molesting a teenage boy? We must defend his honor. It is bizarre that people are actually accepting the idea that a middle aged mentor entering a relationship with a teen is somehow okay. I won't even touch the presumption that all teens are rational actors, because the lack of life experience needed to make this logical jump is beyond me. If we look at the facts we have we have a man who had a position of authority over a minor, and then escalated that to a sexual relationship when the boy was of age. I'm guessing that the reaction may have differed if a 40 year old Catholic priest stood in for Clash, but okay. I'd just point out that even if we say that his behavior was strictly legal, the lack of professionalism and judgment should give you pause. Unless, of course, you're a total creep on the internet.

  • bastich

    So not a good time for "Fondle Me Elmo" jokes, eh?

  • lowercase_ryan

    A couple of thoughts: 1) Clash says nothing happened sexually until after the kid was 18. For all we know this is true. 2) We don't know anything about the nature of their relationship other than the fact that there is a striking age difference. We may not like it, but we need to withhold judgement on this one I think.

  • FrayedMachine

    UGH THANK YOU.

  • Brown

    Likely explains his divorce a bit better.

  • sean

    Isn't 16 the age of consent almost everywhere?

  • Brown

    It is 18 in MI. Legal or not, it is still completely screwed up.

  • BWeaves

    A. You're innocent until proven guilty.

    B. He didn't rape a child.

    C. He had a sexual relationship with a younger person, who he says was "of age" when the relationship started, and he does not deny it.

    D. 16 is "of age" in some states. But we don't know which state or what age Clash though the young man was.

    E. I'd take a leave of absence, too, if this sort of news came up about me. True or false, I'd just want to hide in a hole and avoid the paparazzi .

    F. He's had his hand up Elmo's ass for years. How is this not a surprise? (Too soon?)

    AND LASTLY: The young man has recanted, and said he was not underage when the relationship happened. Clash refuses to discuss this further. I've seen one of the e-mails between the two, and they are embarrassing, and I'm sure there's more to it, but I'm sure my private life is equally embarrassing and I wouldn't want to discuss it in public, either.

  • Mrcreosote

    And once again the reasonable measured thoughtful response was the right one. You have no idea how often that is the case, and I still never learn that lesson. Mea cupla folks.

  • $27019454

    This is good news for me: I am looking for a job and I do a REALLY dead-on Elmo imitation. Where does one apply?

    Just trying to look on the bright side. It's what Elmo would want.

  • ,

    Elmo has an understudy?

  • Jen

    In Australia the age of consent is 16, so I'm really not particularly bothered by this. What's the age of consent in that part of the US? 18 or 21?

  • Cree83

    It's 17 in New York. Guess it's a pretty near miss, and Clash may have made an honest mistake, but still. At 45, dude should know better.

  • Optimus Rhyme

    Why did I click this! That documentary was like a safety blanket to me. Shit. Everybody sucks.

  • Snath

    Yes they do, young one. Yes they do.

  • FrayedMachine

    Okay. Maybe it's because of the way it's written and worded but am I the only one who's not bothered by this? Are we substituting the word "relationship" for rape and sexual assault because if that's the case then yeah, that's fucked up. If there's any kind of abuse involved then that's definitely not cool. But I think I'm also one of those people who don't necessarily see 16 year olds as children. The age difference is pretty icky and gross but it's not like 16 years old as the age of consent is unheard of.

  • Mrcreosote

    No. Just, no. If my 16 year old was having a relationship with a 45 year old, I would definitively NOT be okay with it. And even if you don't see 16 year olds as children, they still are. It's not "icky" or "Gross" it's illegal in many, many states and wildly inappropriate particularly for someone who voices perhaps the most iconic children's character in the past 20 years. In the same way it's much, much worse for the head of the CIA to have an affair than it would be for someone in a standard office job. Please do not go with the "I don't see what the big deal is here." argument. Please.

  • FrayedMachine

    First of all, what you're describing is not a "relationship" if you have such a severe issue with it, it would be sexual assault/abuse which is NOT okay. However, guess what? In many parts of the world, the age of consent is 16, so it's not particularly crazy to actually NOT be offended by the idea of someone being involved with someone at that age. This is why I'm asking, are people substituting the word "relationship" for sexual assault and rape? Because if that's the case then it's genuinely and sincerely fucked up. However, a 16 year old can still decide to get involved with someone, as they do every day. Don't assume that because you want to shelter the youth of the world that everyone should be within the same mindset. The age difference is slightly disconcerting if only because 45 is "old" but it's still not going to make me weep unless I find out it was non-consentual or manipulation/force was involved.

  • Jenny

    Whatever your moral stance is on the issue, the fact is that it is called 'statutory rape' because the law states that a minor is not legally competent to consent to sexual relations. This is not new, so when a 45 yr old man engages in a sexual relationship with a minor, it calls into question the adult's judgement. Where the age of consent is set is always going to fit some individuals better than others. I work with a lot of 15 - 18 yr olds. I would question the quality of the consent given by even an 18 yr old to a person in their mid 40's. That's a huge maturity gap. Kids in their late teens still want to please adults, even if they are in full revolt against their traditional authority figures. But, an 18 yr old has the legal right to give that consent, a 16 yr old does not.

  • Jenny

    I should add that I have no problem with teenagers having consensual sex with one another. That is a totally different issue.

  • FrayedMachine

    Just for the record, don't ever try to use an appeal to authority in situations like this. Do you know what else the law has decided? In many states, having sex with horses is still legal. That's totes cool, right? Because horses are way more capable of providing consent than a 16 year old. Alternatively, many states are trying to rip away a woman's capacity to have control over her own body.

    Man. Appealing to authority is just swell!

    It absolutely sickens me to so many degrees how people believe that teenagers are incapable of consenting to sex. Did anyone stop to think it's because we completely under educate them on the topic? That we completely shelter them? Cage them away because we believe they're too dumb and thick to deal with it? did anyone stop to think that this focus on abstinence is why our teens are getting pregnant and disease are spreading so quickly among them?

    Probably not. Because education has never helped in any given situation before. Ever.

  • Jenny

    I didn't say this is bad because the law says this is bad. I said, this is illegal so I question the judgement of the adult involved. Many states set the age of consent at 16. New York sets it at 17, and the Federal government sets it at 18. Adults are legally accountable for their actions, minors are not. If an adult is going to have sex with a minor, rightly or wrongly, the adult is the one open to criminal charges. I did forget to add that I have no problem with teenagers having sex with teenagers.

    As far as sex with horses or other animals goes, a state may not specifically ban sex with animals, but they will prosecute you under animal cruelty laws.

    Not all laws are just, that does not mean all laws can be ignored.

  • FrayedMachine

    As a major adversary for statutory rape laws, I'm failing to understand why this is still a bad thing, especially considering how many teenagers break said law every single god damn day and is even more appalling how many of them get labeled as sex offenders because of it.

    Also no, they can't if having sex with said animals is. legal.

  • Quatermain

    If you're 16 (which is a distinct possibility given the way you've conducted yourself in this thread)nobody cares about your opinion of statutory laws because teenagers are barely qualified to dress themselves, much less have legal opinions.

    If you're an adult, the fact that you paint yourself as a 'major adversary' of statutory rape laws is...somewhat unsettling and makes me wonder exactly why you are so adamantly opposed to them.

  • FrayedMachine

    Look up the history of Statutory rape laws and look up a lot of the people who get effected by them, you'll see how many teenagers actually get screwed over by them because they sleep with someone who's a FEW MONTHS their junior. The statutory rape laws in this country are far too 'lax' and undefined in terms of who they actually allow to be penalized by them.

  • Quatermain

    If the laws are as lax and undefined as you say they are, the solution
    is not to get rid of them, but to tighten them up and make them clear
    and unambiguous

    If teenagers are as capable and rational as you've been insisting they are, then they should be able to grasp the concept of 'If you're 18 and she's not, wait until she is or the law might want a word with you.'

    .Also, It's 'affected' not 'effected', just FYI.

  • There are a fuckload issues and layers to this whole thing, all of which I am far too hungover and come-down-ey to address, but - coming from age-of-consent-16 London - I'd just like to say that I appreciate your exploration of them, mate.

  • FrayedMachine

    Appreciative of the appreciation! Just tired of people treating teenagers like they're god damn dumbasses. Holy fuck.

  • mrcreosote

    Look, I understand that you have very strong opinions of the legality and ethics of these issues, but teenagers ARE god damn dumbasses. Not just about sex, but everything. It's part of growing up. If you're not smarter and wiser at 27 than you are at 17, there are much larger problems.

  • FrayedMachine

    Yup. And people wonder why we have the highest percentage of teenaged pregnancy rates in the developed first world.

  • Jezzer

    Yes, you've already said. And it once again has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of whether or not an adult has a moral imperative to avoid sleeping with high school students, but you keep on fucking that chicken, dude.

  • Wednesday

    It used to be routine to marry off your daughters when they were 13 or 14 or younger. And sure, 16-year-olds decide to have sex all the time. Doesn't mean it's OK for an adult to take advantage of the poor decision-making skills of a teenager. That's WHY we have age of consent laws, to stop predatory adults from having "relationships" with those who are too young to consider all the implications of what they're doing.

    I would be calling the fucking cops pronto if a 45-year-old man and my 16-year-old daughter were in a consensual relationship. You better damn well believe it. She's not a stupid kid but she's a KID, and wants to be an adult with all the adult goodies that go along with it. It's a powerful feeling to have someone more worldly interested in you, and hard to resist. The manipulation is implicit when you're not dealing with two equals.

  • FrayedMachine

    SIGH.

    This mentality that teens don't know what the hell they're doing is disturbing more than anything. The reason why our teens (read as Americans) are getting into so many shitty situations when it comes to sex is because we SHELTER them like nobody's business. We treat them like they're idiots, try to stifle their urges and put chastity belts on them so that when sex comes their way, they have no idea how to actually handle it.

    Consent laws exist, yes, but it still doesn't mean that everyone is expected to accept that the U.S. is unnecessarily hyper conservative when it comes to sex. I don't understand why people assume that because the U.S. says it's illegal, that the rest of the world should agree that this is absolutely terrible because ZOMG!!!1zz#:KLJ The U.S. Is SO GREAT at making laws that are actually reasonable and understandable and totally not rooted in archaic beliefs or religious perspectives that not everyone adheres to!

    Statutory rape laws do nothing but put a lot of innocent people in jail, and if you can't tell, this INCLUDES teenagers. Having the age of consent be at 16 seems to be working damn fine for pretty much every where else on the planet. But I suppose the U.S. is absolved to keeping up with the times.

    Your issue is your issue and you can raise your kid however you want to raise them. But don't for a damn second think that people have to believe the same thing as you.

  • Puddin

    But they really don't know what the hell they are doing. Look at the evidence in Roper v. Simmons. That whole case was decided on scientific evidence.

  • Cree83

    You can agree that 16 is a reasonable age of consent, and agree that it's probably okay for older teens to be having sex, and still think it's gross when a guy almost 30 years older swoops in and takes advantage of a teenager's naivety. That is not puritanical handwringing, it's just common sense.

  • FrayedMachine

    What makes you think he was taking advantage of him? What if the teenager initiated? What if the teenager was looking for sex and so was he and that was strictly what the relationship was? What if he didn't manipulate him at all? what if he was the one who ended it?

    You're all making a shit load of excuses for why this is terrible but until I hear that he ACTUALLY manipulated him, and/or sexually abused/assaulted him, I'm still not seeing why this is terrible.

  • Cree83

    Teenagers aren't children, but they are not adults. Physiologically. Their brains are literally different; both the chemistry and the structure are different than adult brains. And these differences make them more easily influenced by their environment and more prone to impulse decisions. Not a great recipe for playing at adult relationships. So yes, I would say an adult, whose cognitive function is less impaired by the craziness that happens during teen development, should NOT be going after a teenager.

  • FrayedMachine

    What are we dictating as being an "adult" relationship? A sexual relationship? Because if that's the case then well shit, the youth of today is completely screwed.

    Basically what I'm saying is that the knee jerk reaction to declaring "SEX BAD" is an issue. It's a problem in and of itself. Teenagers decide to have sex all the time, whether it be with someone younger, their age, or older, they do it. And until someone actually says that fowl play was involved, I'm still not seeing why SEX is inherently bad. If the kid wasn't tricked into doing it because he was expecting a ring no his finger and filled with fantasies of nonesense of a future not bound to happen then why is this bad again?

  • 724wd

    "And until someone actually says that fowl play was involved,"... What does Big Bird have to do with this?!

  • MJ

    Hahah!

  • FrayedMachine

    Aaaanndd that one's on me for using the wrong foul.

  • Cree83

    It doesn't have to be all about sex. If a 45 year old dude had convinced a teenager to buy a time share in Florida, I'd be mad too. He's taking advantage because he knows that someone that age is easily maleable, and he knows that someone that age is not great at making big decisions, and he still decides to target that person to get what he wants.

  • FrayedMachine

    I'm going to repeat what I've already stated:

    What makes you think he was taking advantage of him? What if the teenager initiated? What if the teenager was looking for sex and so was he and that was strictly what the relationship was? What if he didn't manipulate him at all? what if he was the one who ended it?

    The way people demonize adults is very similar to how people demonize teenaged boys when talking to teenaged girls.

    "They're just looking to take absolutely everything away from you and leave you naked and alone."

    Well what if that teenaged girl is just looking to get laid? What if this teenaged boy was looking for the same?

    There's a lot of assumptions that are being made to auto demonize him because of the age difference and I wonder why none of you all are taking a moment to pause about why that is? Are you all so afraid that teenagers want sex so bad that they'd be confident enough to go after someone who's more experienced than them? Because who else would you have to protect and shelter at that point, right? You'd have to do a lot of accepting regarding teenagers, namely that they aren't nearly as innocent or dumb or ignorant as you'd all like for them to be unless you RAISE them to be that innocent, dumb and ignorant.

    Why don't you all focus a little more on educating teens and making sure they're prepared for sex than trying to shelter them from the reality of it?

  • Cree83

    It does not matter if the teen initiated, because as I've pointed out, teens are notorious for making rash, impulse decisions. And a reasonable adult should be able to realize this, should have a little bit more self control, and should be able to say, "no thanks," to sex.

    Teens are not automatically dumb or innocent, or ignorant, but they are different than adults. They just are physically different. Their brains, and the way they think, and the way they process information, are different. This is why we do not treat them exactly the same as adults. This is why most teenagers remain living with their parents instead of leaving the home and earning their own living at 15 or 16. This is why we got rid of the death penalty for juveniles in the United States; because experts determined that a 16 year old's mental capacity is too impaired to give him the requisite criminal intent.

  • FrayedMachine

    Oh my god. I'm just going to repeat myself because clearly everything I said went completely over your head.

    " Are you all so afraid that teenagers want sex so bad that they'd be confident enough to go after someone who's more experienced than them? Because who else would you have to protect and shelter at that point, right? You'd have to do a lot of accepting regarding teenagers, namely that they aren't nearly as innocent or dumb or ignorant as you'd all like for them to be unless you RAISE them to be that innocent, dumb and ignorant.

    Why don't you all focus a little more on educating teens and making sure they're prepared for sex than trying to shelter them from the reality of it?"

    Read as, yes Teens are different, but guess what? They're easily educated! Teach them about sex, don't treat them as though they are this destructive midpoint that can't actually handle life or a lot of situations that they're likely to come across at that age. If you're so god damn afraid about adults poaching them then TEACH THEM ABOUT SEX. EDUCATE THEM. EMPOWER THEM WITH THE KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY TO MAKE THE "RIGHT" DECISION. Do NOT place the burden of responsibility to raise your god damn children on EVERYONE ELSE. There's people out there who are looking to take advantage of people (and don't think for one moment that I am saying that Clash is one of those people) and the best way to help your teen avoid those shitty situations is to actually educate them and allow them to be knowledgeable on the subject.

    There's a reason why other parts of THE WORLD have age of consent at 16, and it's NOT because teenagers are dumb as shit.

    And yes, it IS demonizing adults if you're saying they're TAKING ADVANTAGE of said teens.

    jesus fucknig christ, does no one pay attention to what's being said around here?

    You know what. Don't answer that. I know exactly what the answer to that is.

  • Cree83

    Yes, I read what you said. I think perhaps you are having trouble connecting the dots here. It's not about being more knowledgeable. You can teach teens about sex and you can educate them, but you cannot change the physiology of their brain structure. Only time can do that. A teenager can understand, intellectually, what sex means, but that will not necessarily prevent him or her from making poor decisions when he or she is subject to external pressures, or surging hormones. Adults do not have this excuse. They do not have this same biological disadvantage. Therefore, adults should know better. That is why an adult is thought of as taking advantage. Essentially, teenagers are impaired by their own biology, no matter how smart they are.

  • FrayedMachine

    Again.

    People wonder why we have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed first world. God damn.

  • Cree83

    That probably has something to do with abstinence only education and lack of access to birth control. Kids should have sex education, AND they should have access to birth control. That does not mean grown adults should feel okay about having sex with them.

  • FrayedMachine

    Yes, the reason why they have restriction to proper education is because we treat them like they can't make a decision for the life of them.

    Oh hey. it looks like it brings me back to one of my previous points:

    What makes you think he was taking advantage of him? What if the teenager initiated? What if the teenager was looking for sex and so was he and that was strictly what the relationship was? What if he didn't manipulate him at all? what if he was the one who ended it?

    So basically I'm done with this discussion because I'm officially repeating myself.

    If anyone can actually provide further information on whether there was actual sexual assault or abuse that happened, that would be great.

  • Cree83

    The reason we don't have proper sex education is due to religious attitudes about premarital sex. For that crowd, whether a person is a teenager or an adult is irrelevant. They just don't want unmarried people having sex.

    Honestly, I feel like I'm dealing with a teenager at this point, since my responses to your points don't seem to sink in.

  • FrayedMachine

    I suppose it's easier to result to insulting when your argument doesn't stand and you can't provide the evidence that's being asked for, huh? Though I suppose we can say the sentiment is mutual. Imagine how that can work both ways.

    At any rate. If anyone has further information regarding this, that'd be great!

  • Jezzer

    Frayed, for the record, you started being snide and twatty WAY before Cree lost patience with you.

  • Cree83

    I'm expressing frustration with the tone you have been using: the swearing, and the claiming that nobody is listening. I am reading what you wrote. And I am responding to what you wrote. Just because I don't agree with your points, and you don't agree with mine, doesn't mean we're all morons incapable of reading comprehension. I'm not underestimating or infantilizing teens, as you suggest. I am just trying to be realistic about their cognitive capabilities, based on the research I know about how teenage brains work. And based on what I know, I believe that most teenagers are not very mature. Therefore, I do not believe adults should view this lack of maturity as an invitation behave like teenagers themselves.

  • FrayedMachine

    But no one IS listening. I'm asking for actual information, for people to answer questions and yet everyone is evading that entirely. Also I'm so sorry if my fucking language tickles your eyes so poorly. I'll be sure to censor myself to avoid stepping on any toes in the future.

    But again, if anyone actually has answers to said questions, that would be great.

  • nosio

    I've read and partially agree with some of your arguments, but in this particular instance, I disagree with what you're saying.

    The potential victim in question here - now a 23 year old adult - is the one bringing charges against Clash. It seems far more likely to me that a well-adjusted, sexually and emotionally mature 16 or 18 year old would have little inclination to accuse their sex partner of statutory rape than if there were something amiss in the situation from the start.

    Either way, it's sad news.

  • FrayedMachine

    Well this is why my initial post was whether "relationship" was a term that was being used to substitute sexual assault/rape/abuse/etc. etc. And further more, what allegations are actually being brought forth? I'm not denying the possibility that there was something bad at hand but I'm not necessarily quick to jump on the train that it's all bad due to age difference.

  • Cree83

    You asked about whether there is any evidence that sexual assault took place, and I don't know the answer to that, so I didn't address that. But you also brought up numerous other issues regarding a teens' ability to make decisions, the way adults treat teenage sexuality, and the ethics of an adult having sex with a teenager, so those were some of the issues I was responding to.

  • Cree83

    We assume adults should know better.... that is not demonizing adults.

  • BobBalaban360

    The really big deal about this, for anyone that's seen the film, is that unless it is in another country and language, NOBODY else plays Elmo. Unlike other puppeteers and voice actors who will call in subs to meet demand, Clash was entirely devoted to personally performing Elmo for any and all purposes. And personally trained anyone taking on playing Elmo in an international variation of the show. Just last week there was a bit on WNYC where Elmo came on to talk to kids in New York about the hurricane, and I thought, "Wow, that's really Kevin Clash, taking time out of his day to do this".

  • stipe42

    When are we going to learn that Muppets are a gateway drug? A man spends all day shoving his fist up a Muppet's ass, sooner or later he's going to look for the real thing.

  • Mrcreosote

    Thanks. I was just wondering if this week could really get worse, and the universe took that as a challenge once again. I'll be off in the corner, mumbling quietly and rocking back and forth.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Having just watched The Five-Year Engagement and being a person on the internet, I hope that Elmo will now be voiced by Alison Brie.

  • piedlourde

    Baby Sinclair: "NOT the daddy!"

blog comments powered by Disqus