Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Elmo Already

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 12:36 AM

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Just one day after claiming Elmo Muppeteer Kevin Clash had sex with him while he was 16, the grown man at the center of the controversy recanted his claim, stating he was of a legal age when his relationship with Clash started, stating (through his lawyer) that "his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." TMZ felt comfortable enough running this story without vetting the accuser, an aspiring male model named Sheldon Stephens -- a fine, upstanding man accused of armed robbery, reckless driving and fraud in his 24 years on this planet. So what comes next? Does anything come next? The terse, non-committal statement issued from Sesame Street's PR (“We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.”) has created something of a vacuum where awful, homophobic bullshit like this Time blog gets the attention it doesn't deserve. The absurdity of this is like we're all stuck in Death to Smoochy. How dare Kevin Clash do nothing against the law? He should be ashamed of himself for not breaking the law. Someone think of the children, most of whom don't even know there is a dude with his hand shoved up Elmo's ass to make him speak.

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Personally, I didn't really grow up on Sesame Street that much -- not because I am too old, or too young, but because the Count scared the shit out of me -- but Clash's work as Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his multiple rolls on Dinosaurs make his work important to me, and it rips me up to see him have to go through this. Unless there is something more, something unreported, this worst thing Clash has done is use his work email account inappropriately. Luckily, he has no state secrets to disclose. The extreme awfulness of what just happened to the man should serve as enough of a punishment for some bad judgement and poor taste in love. Sesame Workshop should bring him back immediately.

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