The man behind one of the most beloved children’s characters of all time is being accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy.
Kevin Clash, the 52-year-old voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, has denied engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage teen.
According to TMZ, he admits to having a relationship with the accuser but states he was of a legal age at the time.
‘It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not,’ Clash allegedly said.
Officials at Sesame Workshop are standing by the openly gay voice actor, saying there has been no evidence produced so far to prove the claims.
In a statement, they said: ‘Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation.
‘We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.’
The now 23-year-old’s lawyers say Sesame Street is attempting to ‘discredit the victim in order to protect its employee and the image of one of its most valuable characters.’
‘This approach places a greater value on a puppet than the wellbeing of a young man,’ they said.
Clash has performed as Elmo, as well as other characters such as Baby Sinclair and Clifford, for the past 28 years.