Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Kevin Clash, the man from Baltimore County who gained fame as the voice of Elmo, is on leave from Sesame Street after allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenager.
Mike Hellgren spoke to one of Clash’s relatives.
Clash used to perform at the Inner Harbor in his early years, and he has continued to give back to his community. Many who’ve known him for years are in shock over the allegations.
For 27 years, Maryland’s own Kevin Clash has been the voice behind Elmo–one of the most well-known children’s characters ever.
But Clash is on leave from Sesame Street after a now-23-year-old man claimed he had a sexual relationship with Clash that started when he was just 16 years old.
“We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated,” Clash’s bosses at the Sesame Workshop said in a statement.
In a statement, Clash admitted having a relationship with the young man but not when the accuser was a teenager.
Sesame Workshop did say: “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.”
Clash grew up in the Turner Station neighborhood. Those who know him are heartbroken over this allegation.
A relative, who didn’t want to share her name, worries about the damage this has already done.
“It stunned me. I don’t believe it’s true, and I hope it’s proven that it’s not true,” she said. “Even if it’s a rumor, it’ll hurt his reputation.”
Sesame Workshop says Clash is taking time off so he can take action to protect his reputation. And despite what happened, they say Elmo is bigger than him and will live on.
The lawyer who worked for Jerry Sandusky is now representing the accuser in this case.