8. Sesame Workshop addresses Elmo creator’s sex scandal
Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash is taking a break from "Sesame Street" after being slammed with allegations that he carried on an illicit affair with an underage boy.
TMZ.com reports that a man has come forward to claim that he’d been sexually involved with Kevin, starting at the age of 16. He is 23 now.
For his part, Kevin did not deny knowing the victim, telling TMZ, "I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," Sesame Workshop said in a statement, adding that the company had been in communication with the accuser. "We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated."
Without going into detail, Sesame Workshop stated, "Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined."
The company continued, "Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so."
That doesn’t mean that his famous little monster will be MIA on "Sesame Street," though. "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years," the company concluded.