I is for icky. According to reports, Kevin Clash, the 52-year-old man that “powers” Elmo manually and does his infamous baby puppet squeaky-cute laugh thing that has tormented us ever since the Tickle Me Elmo doll came out, has been charged with allegedly having a relationship with a 16-year-0ld boy.
The once-minor, now 23-years-old, has had “repeated communications” with the Sesame Workshop, the brains behind classic children’s television show Sesame Street.
“We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action,” said the Sesame Workshop in a statement earlier today.
Clash denied the allegations, although the Sesame Workshop gave the man a leave of absence and did discipline the puppet master for using the Internet against company protocol.
Ummm, like JACK FM does everyday? (Shhh, don’t tell. We have a bonsai fetish and are trying to get our hands on some Japanese rarities.)
Clash did tell TMZ that he had a relationship with the young man, but that he wasn’t underage. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”
As for now, Elmo is safe. Sesame Workshop has employed a puppet psychologist for him to see if he has suffered any trauma at the hands (literally) of Clash and they say that Elmo has a lot of support.
“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ to engage,” said Sesame Workshop, “educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.”
And drain our holiday wallets dry with the newest loud mouth version of the furry red puppet.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles