Elmo's back: improper sex claim dropped


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The Independent US

The 23-year-old man who accused Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Sesame Street's Elmo, of an improper relationship with him when he was a teenage boy has recanted the allegations that led the children's TV veteran to take time off from the hit show.

Lawyers for the unnamed accuser said he wanted it known that "his sexual relationship with Mr Clash was an adult consensual relationship". According to the Associated Press, Mr Clash responded by saying he was "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest".

The claim first emerged earlier this week when Sesame Workshop, the maker of the children's show, said 52-year-old Mr Clash was taking a leave of absence following the allegations.

In a statement this week, the Emmy award-winning puppeteer denied the claims, acknowledging he was gay but insisting the relationship had been one between two consenting adults.

Following the retraction, the producers of the show said: "We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."

Mr Clash's high-pitched voice was instrumental in Elmo's promotion to one of the prime faces of the hit show. His success won him public acclaim, along with 23 daytime Emmys and a prime-time Emmy, and a documentary profile titled Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.