When I got up this morning, I was met with the news of allegations made against Muppeteer Kevin Clash (whom is best known for performing Elmo, on Sesame Street, but also has an array of other characters as well, such as Clifford the Catfish, Polly Lobster, among others) by a young man, who claims that Mr. Clash did some rather unpleasant things to him when he was sixteen years of age (the man is twenty-three now). Needless to say, not only did these allegations spread like wildfire (THANK you, TMZ), but now, the information has some different (and some uncited) sources, that it's hard to tell just what exactly is fact, and what exactly is fiction; one thing that does seem consistently clear throughout all of this, is that Kevin Clash has taken a temporary leave of absense from Sesame Street to sort this situation out.
So far, there really is no evidence from the accuser that justifies his claims, Sesame Workshop has even contacted the accuser more than once, asking for evidence to back up claims, with so far, no response. However, a number of sources quote Kevin as saying that he denies the allegations made against him, but that there was a consensual relationship between the two of them, when the accuser of legal age of adulthood.
In this day and age, it's difficult to determine just what is real and fake, and it certainly is hard for many people, including myself, to believe that any of these claims are true, with some even comparing it to the previously similar allegations made against Michael Jackson. It would be awful if all of this turned out to be true, but even if it isn't, the claims alone are not only hurting Kevin, but they are also hurting Elmo, Sesame Street, and puppeteers in general (considering that there is a stereotype that has been placed on puppeteers that they are pedophiles) - I can't even imagine how parents are reacting to all of this, if they have even heard anything at this point, but I am sure there would be some outrage, to say the least.
Whatever the outcome, myself, and other Muppet Freaks out there, are standing by Kevin, and showing their support during this dark and difficult time. In my opinion, this entire situation sounds less and less believable as more sources report the same story thoughout the day, with different details and citations. Nevertheless, Kevin Clash is a hero of mine, I respect him like crazy, I have trouble believing any of this, so I stand behind him 100%. I hope that this will all blow over soon, and that order will be restored to the world, and of course, everybody's favorite street.
UPDATE November 13, 2012
As it turns out, the accuser who made these allegations against Kevin has now recanted his claims, stating that the relationship was, indeed, consensual - which only goes to prove the one thing that was running through a bunch of people's minds: this character was simply crawling out of the woodwork to try to extort some money from Kevin. Nevertheless, while I am personally glad that these ridiculous allegations are all over, unfortunately, damage has been done, and I know a lot of people will have trouble looking at Kevin, Elmo, and possibly Sesame Street the same way again, however I still stand behind Kevin, and send him my support that he will rise above this scandal, and that time will heal all wounds.
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Looks as if this situation has taken a much sadder turn now: in the wake of the scandal, the accuser (who has now been identified as actor/model Sheldon Stevens) is now recanting his recant, saying that he was pressured into doing so, despite standing by his claims, that he is now throwing back out there, and wishing to continue in pressing charges... this, while, at the same time, we now have a devastating blow to contend with: Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street. Sad. Sad, sad, sad. A gifted and talented man's name and reputation forever smeared, the most famous street in the world losing one of it's key fixtures, and now a beloved red monster has lost his best friend.