Updated Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5:45 p.m. EST: The New York Times reports that Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser, said in a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” The statement added, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
Kevin Clash, who has provided the voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo for 28 years, has announced that he is taking a leave of absence after allegations surfaced that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
While he admits having a relationship with the alleged victim, he insists that it was consensual and took place after his accuser was 18 years old. From ABC News:
“I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was,” Clash said in a statement issued to ABC News.
“I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation,” he said.
The alleged underage relationship was brought to the attention of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces the beloved children’s show, in June by the alleged victim, who was by then 23 years old.
Sesame Workshop said it took the allegation “very seriously” and took “immediate action,” but after an investigation, which included interviews with Clash and his accuser, found the claims to be “unsubstantiated.” He has not been charged with any crime.