by David Mendez
Kevin Clash, the longtime puppeteer of Sesame Street sensation and constantly in-demand red monster puppet Elmo, has been cleared of accusations that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with an underage boy after the accuser recanted.
The accuser, who is now 24 and remains unidentified, had this to say, according to the New York Times's Media Decoder blog:
Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser said in a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
The accuser’s identity has not been disclosed.
Mr. Clash said through a spokeswoman: “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.”
Which finally puts this whole stupid matter of what two grown-ups do with each other in their personal time to rest, and makes me wonder why people give a damn what gossip mongers like TMZ have to say which brings up this note from the end of the Times blog's post:
Harvey Levin, the editor of TMZ, did not respond to a request for comment about its decision to run with the unproven allegations of underage sex.
I could rant for a few paragraphs about how scummy it was for TMZ to run with a story that is likely to never be forgotten by tabloid-reading parents who will pull their children away from Sesame Street-related products because the man controlling the puppet is gay, but I'll save the energy media rants at other media outlets tend to come off as exercises in ego-stroking and moral posturing.
What matters here is that there's a chance that a man's name has been tarnished with a terrible stain: the accusation of being a sexual offender, which is made worse by the fact that he's a major player in a children's television show. He's guilty of no real wrong-doing, even according to his accuser, but there's a chance that his professional life may not recover because of a case of less-than-stellar judgement both on his part, and on the part of TMZ.