The man who has been the voice behind the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo for 26 years, Kevin Clash, has taken a leave of absence from the PBS series amid allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male.
Sesame Street Workshop, which is a separarte non-profit entity from PBS, said that Clash denies the charges that were made in June when the accuser was 23, the Associated Press reports.
Sesame Street Workshop says that the investigation into Clash’s affair with a teenage boy was dubious, but that Clash showed “poor judgement” and was disciplined for violating the company’s Internet usage policy. It did not provide any further details, according to the AP.
Clash is taking an indefinite leave of absence at his own behest “in order to protect his reputation.”
Clash was the subject of a popular 2011 documentary, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey,” about his early life in Baltimore, Md., and his fortuitous meeting with “Muppets” creator Jim Henson. The film was a critical darling which the New York Post called “an inspiring and joyous celebration of art, skill, determination and making kids happy.” It currently holds a 94 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.