It's hard to underestimate the influence of Sesame Street on young children growing up, waking up before the sun does and sitting in front of a world of knowledge, fuelled by talented writers and told via puppetry.
And with that power, comes a responsibility to tackle relevant subjects for children, without shying away from something that can benefit them in later life. This is why Sesame Street - amidst a challenging period, with the Kevin Clash sex rumors still going strong - have approached the issue of divorce. It seems this time, though, that the children have influenced the show, rather than the other way round, as the writers and producers realized that most kids know about it already. The tough matter was approached via the character of Abby - a fun-loving pink fairy with sparkly hair - who holds up two drawings of houses; one where she lives with her mommy and the other where she lives with daddy. She later explains to Elmo that this is because of a divorce, and that she felt sad to begin with, but got used to it after a while.
Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro told Time: "Writing about divorce is not easy. My approach was from the point of view of Abby whose parents have gone through a divorce in the past, so that it is not a new, raw emotion."
Having left his long-term tenure as the voice of Elmo, resigning from his post after 28 years of service to Sesame Street in light of sexual abuse scandals, Kevin Clash has been hit with yet another accusation of underage sex.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, according to Reuters, a man identified only as 'John' alleges Kevin Clash engaged in oral sex and other sex acts with him when 'John' was 16 years old. The suit seeks at least $75,000 in damages. Clash's publicist, Risa B. Heller, said in an emailed statement, "Mr. Clash believes the lawsuit has no merit". The suit also alleges the following; that the incident or incidents occurred in 2000 or 2001 when John, who is from Florida, visited New York for modeling opportunities; that John came to know Clash through a telephone chat line for homosexuals; and that Clash claimed to be a 30-year-old named Craig, while he was in fact 40.
Clash, now 52, resigned on November 20 from Sesame Workshop after nearly 30 years on the show. His resignation came the same day Cecil Singleton filed a claim seeking more than $5 million in damages from Clash. Singleton claims he met the then-32-year-old puppeteer in 1993 in a gay chat room when he was 15.
What at first looked like to be a case blown wholly out of proportion is now increasingly looking like a sad tale indeed, with a third sexual allegation being leveled at Sesame Street’s Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash.
Two weeks ago Clash was first accused of having sex with a boy under the age of legal sexual consent; it appeared to be a ruse as the accuser withdrew the statement and said that the pair had had sex once he was of legal age. However, reports suggested that the claimant was put under severe duress to withdraw his initial allegation, and since then a second and now third allegation has been made.
This one, according to the New York Daily News, alleges that Clash plied the claimant – again supposedly underage – with alcohol in order to groom into sexual activity in his Manhattan apartment. The claim was filed under the name John Doe, who is now 29 years of age. The supposed incident occurred when he was just 16, though, with Clash reportedly going under the name Craig to protect his identity. Following the incident the file claims that Doe was contacted incessantly by Clash to “arrange meetings for sexual encounters”. The lawsuit last week saw 24 year-old Sheldon Stephens file for $5 million after alleging sexual intercourse with Clash aged just 15.
Emily Squires, part of the Sesame Street team, directing multiple episodes, and applying her talents to soap operas including The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, has died aged 71.
Squires directed the "Sesame Street" children's television series from 1982 to 2007 while also writing for the program; her husband, Len Belzer, said on Friday (Nov, 23) that the cause of death is yet to be determined, The Huffington Post reports. A member of the popular Sesame Street show, which has been plunged into controversy surrounding the Kevin Clash sex scandal, as one of the programs most loved characters, Elmo, is under intense scrutiny, Squires death marks an incredibly sad month for all involved. Clash has since resigned from his position amidst the allegations levelled against him. She directed several Sesame Street TV specials as well as other children's programs such as the PBS show Between the Lions, which promoted reading and learning. She also was a scriptwriter for soap operas including The Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, The Secret Storm and As the World Turns, proving herself to be one of the biggest talents in television.
Emily Squires had also been acknowledged in the categories of Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team, and Outstanding Directing in a Children's series with fifteen Daytime Emmys nominations.
Elmo is refusing to retire from Sesame Street, despite Kevin Clash leaving the show following high profile underage sex allegations. The loveable puppet sang his heart out during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday (November 22, 2012), reports TMZ.com.
Along with the rest of the Sesame Street cast, Elmo sang 'What I Am', which includes particularly apt lyrics given the goings-on of the past couple of weeks. Elmo sang, "I'm gonna keep my head up high, keep on reaching high, Never gonna quit, Just keep getting stronger." In his solo part, Elmo belts out, "Nothing's gonna bring us down." Veteran Sesame Street star Kevin Clash resigned from the show this week following new allegations that he had sex with an underage youth. An earlier accuser made similar allegations before recanting them, however, he claimed to have been forced into signing a settlement deal worth over $100,000. A statement said, "Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization.This is a sad day for Sesame Street."
A lawsuit filed in federal court in New York accuses Clash of persuading Cecil Singleton to meet for sexual encounters when he was just 15-years-old.
Two men, Sheldon Stephens and now Cecil Singleton, have come forward accusing Clash of having sex with them while they were under age. While Stephen's testimony is decidedly rocky, having recanted his original statement, only to recant his recant a few days later, Singleton is both lucid and eloquent in his description of the relationship he had with Clash. The Daily Mail reports that Clash had "presented himself as the perfect gentleman [to Singleton]." Singleton said, "He told me how beautiful I was...After dinner, we talked and talked... He asked me if I might come to his apartment so he could give me a proper good-night kiss. He gave me the most passionate kiss I ever had experienced."
Their relationship lasted an intense two weeks, but they did not have a 'full sexual relationship' while Singleton was under age. However, he says: "If I had to make an educated guess and say if we had stayed together we more than likely would have had sex at that age".
Continue reading: "Nothing's Gonna Bring Us Down": Kevin Clash And The Fate Of Elmo.
Kevin Clash resigning as the voice of Elmo after 28 years on Sesame Street hasn't stunted the puppet's ability to appear publically, as it has been confirmed that the little red fella will appear on Macy's Thanksgiving Parade as it moves through Manhatten.
Clash has been accused by two separate people of having sexual relationships with them while they were underage, which has lead to his resignation. The first seems to have been laid to rest, but the second accusation promises a lawsuit, and it all proved too much for Clash, as he stepped down from his 28 year tenure on the show. A rep for Macy's told TMZ, "Elmo will be joining his Muppet friends on the Sesame Street float with an alternate puppeteer bringing him to life." The rep adds, "Current events have no bearing on Sesame's participation in the Parade and we are confident their world-renowned, family-friendly entertainment and educational programming will continue to bring kids and families joy for decades." It would be a shame for the squeaky rouge fur ball to suffer, after all.
Sesame Workshop said of Clash's resignation: "Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street."
The scandal surrounding Kevin Clash, voice of popular sesame street character Elmo seemed to have come to an end when his accuser recanted his statement, but in light of an alleged 6-figure sum paid, and the withdrawal of the statement not being entirely heartfelt, Clash resigned from his post, and Hasbro - the people behind the Elmo toys - have responded.
"Sesame Street and its wonderful characters have been entertaining and educating children and families for more than 40 years," says Wayne Charness, senior vp corporate communications at Hasbro. "We are confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of Sesame Street and that Sesame Street toys will continue to delight children for years to come." The LOL Elmo, a new toy released by Hasbro in the last few weeks in the run up to the Christmas rush could not have been at a worse time, but it seems the folks at the toy manufactures are confident that the on going scandal will not have a negative effect on sales.
In a statement, Clash talked about resigning from the show, of which he has been a long-time member. "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart," the 52-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter. "I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
Kevin Clash, the Elmo Puppeteer accused twice of sex with an underage person, has resigned. Earlier this month, Sesame Street avoided a hard fate when Barack Obama was re-elected, Mitt Romney having threatened to axe the budget for PBS. However, sadly, as the second accuser has come forward, Sesame Street's luck has worn thin and Clash has resigned from the show, reports E!
Last week a 23 year old man named Sheldon Stephens came forward with accusations against Clash, saying that he and the Sesame Street co-executive producer had sexual relations when Stephens was just 16. Stephens later recanted the statement... only to recant his recant a few days ago. Yesterday a further accusation arose from Cecil Singleton, claiming that he and Clash had an innappropriate relationship when Singleton was just 15. Apparently, Singleton has filed a $5m lawsuit against Clash.
In a statement, Clash said: "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart," he said. "I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
Kevin Clash - the man who voices Elmo on Sesame Street - probably let out a huge sigh of relief last week after the man accusing him of underage sex agreed to a reported settlement of $125,000. There had been doubts over Mr Sheldon Stephens' accusations from the start, though the story was big enough to force Clash into taking leave from the legendary children's show to sort things out.
After a meeting of lawyers, it was agreed that Stephens would confirm that his sexual relationship with Mr Clash was purely adult and consensual. TMZ.com reported on a statement released late last week that read, "Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement ... 'He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." So that was that then? Clash would return to work on Sesame Street and everything would be fine. Well, not exactly. Now, Stephens is having second thoughts and feels he was pressured into signing the settlement. Having met with his lawyers in Los Angeles, the accuser insists he had sex with Clash while he was just 16-years-old and will gladly forfeit the $125,000 to tell the truth about the matter. He was reportedly crying throughout the initial negotiations and initially refused to sign on the dotted line.
Clash's lawyer said on Friday (November 16, 2012) that he had no comment to make on the matter, though we're likely to hear something in the near future. The whole case has been become murkier after The Smoking Gun found that Mr Stephens was a "struggling 24-year-old model/actor" who was once arrested for the knifepoint robbery of $250,000 in jewellery from a music manager for whom he interned.
Continue reading: Accuser Make U-Turn: What Now For Kevin Clash And Elmo?
Stephens accused Clash of having sexual relations with him when he was aged just 16, which Clash fervently denied. Then, a few days later, Stephens took back his accusation and released a statement via lawyers, the Huffington Post reported at the time, which read:
"Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement ... 'He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.'"
The man who accused Kevin Clash - the voice of Elmo - of having sex with him while he was just 16-years-old is sticking by his story. As was previously reported by TMZ.com, Mr Sheldon Stephens entered into a $125,000 settlement in which he confirmed that his sexual relationship was Mr Clash was adult and consensual.
The agreement released late last week read, "Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement ... 'He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship," though Stephens is said to be having second thoughts and wants to give up the $125,000. He met with his lawyers in Los Angeles and told them he was pressured into recanting the allegations and insists he had sex with Clash while he was just 16-years-old. Stephens will gladly forfeit the $125,000 to tell the truth about their time together and was reportedly crying throughout the final negotiations, initially refusing to sign.
Clash's lawyer said on Friday (November 16, 2012) that he had no comment on the settlement story, though we're pretty sure this one is going to run and run and run.
Continue reading: Elmo Sex Scandal: Accuser To Forfeit $125,000 And Stick By His Story
The man who accused Kevin Clash of sex with an under-age person has been named as Sheldon Stevens by The Smoking Gun website. Stevens, an aspiring model and actor, later went back on his accusations through a statement via his ex-lawyers, but no word was given as to why he accused him in the first place.
Despite no concrete reason, it seems Steven's difficult life to date may gives clues as to his motives. He was arrested a few years ago for robbing a man named Damian Pollard, a music manager and head of DP Music Entertainment Group of $250,000 worth of jewellery. Apparently, the man was held at knife-point while Stevens stole from him. However, when reports weren't filed further the case was dropped and Pollard said after that he had not been held up at knife-point by Stevens, and it was later dismissed as a mistake. However, further trouble plagued the young vagabond as earlier this year his mother Felicia Stevens was arrested for attempted murder having stabbed her husband with a knife.
With his mother's arrest on his mind, clearly, it's been a tough year for Stevens but that by no means excuses his actions and defamatory false accusations. Clash has opted to take some extra time off work to come to terms with the whole ordeal, which the Sesame Workshop "totally understand". Of course, everything is alleged until proven.
Elmo is back, people! The man who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Sesame Street star Kevin Clash while he was underage has dropped the allegations. The accuser claims he WAS an adult during the relationship after all and has no further comment on the matter.
His lawyer released a statement to TMZ.com, saying, "[The accuser] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. [The accuser] will have no further comment." Why he suddenly changed his story after making such firm and serious allegations remains to be seen, though sources say the accuser's attorney had been meeting with Clash's lawyer late last night to discuss a financial settlement of around 6 figures. Initially, the alleged victim said he had a sexual relationship with Clash - who has voiced Elmo for 30 years - whilst he was 16-years-old. Kevin, who admitted that he was gay this week, was said to have been 45. Though the details of the relationship are still unknown, it is now clear that the accuser was deemed an adult and that it was completely consensual.
Clash, 52, also released a statement last night, saying, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."
Continue reading: Elmo's In The Clear! Kevin Clash's Gay Relationship Was Very Much Legal
The sexual abuse scandal that surrounded Elmo’s voice man, Kevin Clash, had shocked many member of the public, especially given the heightened exposure many public figures have now been put under within the spectrum of child abuse. But now this particular ‘case’ has been put to bed by the person who made the allegations.
The accuser, now 23 years of age, has recanted his allegations, saying that they had an "adult consensual relationship". The accuser's attorney released a statement to E! News, clarifying the nature of his relationship with 52-year-old Clash: "This office represented the 23-year-old man who was the subject of many media reports regarding Kevin Clash. He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter." Clash also issued his own statement in response: "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," the Emmy-winning Muppet man said. "I will not discuss it further."
Continue reading: Elmo Kevin Clash Sex Abuse Scandal: Finally At An End?
Elmo’s right-hand man Kevin Clash has admitted having a relationship with an unknown male man several years ago, though insists he did nothing illegal (despite accusations that the boy was just 16 at the time).
Clash, who’s performed as Elmo on Sesame Street for 27 years, has taken a leave of absence from the show to fight the allegations. On Monday (November 12, 2012), Clash confirmed to E! News that he did have a relationship with his accuser (now 23 years old) but says it was certainly not an illegal one. “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…I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.” Clash also confirmed he is “a gay man” and has “never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt [my relationship with the accuser] was a personal and private matter.”
The Sesame Workshop has backed up their star man, saying that after a thorough investigation they “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated,” though the family-oriented organization found that Clash “exercised poor judgement and violated company policy regarding Internet usage and was disciplined.” Err, ok.
The unraveling potential sex scandal over Sesame Street’s Elmo voice over actor Kevin Clash continues apace, with TMZ reported that he sent the man accusing him an email apologizing for constantly talking about sex.
It’s been widely reported now that a 23 year-old has accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him seven years ago, when he would have been just 16. Clash, 52, has admitted that he had one with the accuser, but insists that it didn’t take place until after he had turned 18 years-old and has gone so far as to take a leave of absence from Sesame Street to fight for his name. The latest report by TMZ, though, points to an email sent in 2010 to the accuser in which Clash apologized for repeated references to sex and promised to make the recipient's “dreams come true”.
"I'm sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, its driving me insane” the emails reads. "I want you to know that I love you and I will never hurt you. I'm here to protect you and make sure your dreams come true." Clash continued, "I'll have my assistant book a ticket for you to come to NY and we can talk about this in person."
The 'boy' in question remains unnamed and is now 23, he alleges that Clash and he began a relationship when he was 16, when Clash would have been 45. The puppeteer fervently denies the allegations, saying that their relationship was mutual and didn't begin until the accuser was over the age of 18. He said: "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."
Sesame Workshop, the television organisation behind Sesame Street, released a statement. "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action." They said, "Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so." Sesame Workshop lawyers have met with the accuser twice already, on behalf of Clash, but feeling that they were trying to 'muzzle' him, said accuser, opted to employ top lawyers Andreozzi and Associates to represent him.
Continue reading: Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused Of Relationship With Boy Aged 16
Growing up in Baltimore, Clash was transfixed when Sesame Street launched in 1969 and introduced the original Muppets. Watching Jim Henson explain how they worked made Clash want to join them. After chopping up his dad's coat to make a puppet, he began putting on shows for the neighbourhood. And audiences responded. While still a teen, he became a local TV celebrity. Then at 17 he met legendary puppet builder, Kermit Love, who taught him the secrets of the business and introduced him to Henson.
Continue reading: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Review