Elmo Puppeteer Accused Of Underage Relationship
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind the show, said Kevin Clash, 52, had denied the accusations.
They were made by a 23-year-old man who claims to have begun a relationship with the voice actor when he was 16.
Sesame Workshop said its own investigation, during which its lawyers met with the accuser twice, had found the allegation of under age sex to be unsubstantiated.
But it said Clash had exercised “poor judgment” and was disciplined for violating company policy on internet usage.
The puppeteer, who has voiced the red furry monster Elmo since 1984, told TMZ he did have a relationship with his accuser but “it was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
Clash was granted a leave of absence at his own request in order to “protect his reputation” and to fight the allegations, Sesame Workshop said.
Last year Clash starred in the successful documentary film “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” which told the story of how he had dreamed as a child of working on The Muppets.
In 2006 he wrote a book called “My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud.”