Fox News reported the man who accused "Sesame Street" star puppeteer Kevin Clash "of having a sexual encounter with him when he was 16 has retracted his statements."
“He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship,” the statement sent to Fox from his attorneys read. “He will have no further comment on the matter.” Over at Time.com, Bonnie Rochman explored “Why Kevin Clash’s Personal Life Troubles Parents of Elmo Fans.” She thought as a “children’s educator,” he needed to have a cleaner personal life than your stereotypical rock star:
The buzz surrounding the scandal almost certainly never reached the ears of the millions of kids who have catapulted Elmo, the embodiment of preschool wonder and curiosity, to the status of MVP (most valuable puppet). Elmo’s legion of diminutive fans are far too young to understand or care about underage sex or gay sex or sex at all.
But for the parents of those kids, the whole, brief brouhaha felt kind of creepy. Even if Clash’s accuser were of legal age to be in a relationship, the idea of Elmo involved in torrid affairs that escalated to the point of one lover accusing another of illicit behavior left many moms and dads conflicted. TMZ published an email apparently sent by Clash to his accuser when he would have been 21 that didn’t leave much to the imagination:
"I’m sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, it’s driving me insane. I want you to know that I love you and I will never hurt you. I’m here to protect you and make sure your dreams come true. … I’ll have my assistant book a ticket for you to come to NY and we can talk about this in person.”
As much as Clash’s life off of Sesame Street is certainly his own to live, it is hard not to hold him, as a children’s educator, to a higher standard. The truth is that children’s entertainers do have a higher moral obligation to their audience than, say, Mick Jagger does to his.
Clash was married a long time ago and has a 20-year-old daughter.