Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
The scandal that threatened America's best-known symbol of childlike innocence has subsided.
On Monday, a man accused Kevin Clash -- the puppeteer for Sesame Street's Elmo -- of engaging in a sexual relationship when the accuser was underage. One day after TMZ published these claims, however, the accuser recanted his allegations.
On Tuesday afternoon, Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm representing the anonymous accuser, said that its client "wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." The law firm’s statement added, "He will have no further comment on the matter."
Through a spokesman, Clash said, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."
The claim tarnished the reputation of Sesame Street’s leading puppeteer and created unpleasant associations with the show's beloved preschool-aged, fuzzy red muppet.
Sesame Workshop has apparently known for some time about these claims. According to The New York Times, the accuser contacted the Sesame Workshop in June, and the claims were investigated and deemed false. On Sunday, however, Clash took a leave of absence after learning TMZ was going to publish the claims of an illegal relationship anyway.
"We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode," said Sesame Workshop.