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Sunday, August 2, 2015

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Opinion Blog

Scandal tarnishes ‘Sesame Street’ legacy

By Alex McClung          Posted: 11/25/12 6:43pm         

It is unfortunate that the man behind one of the world’s most beloved puppets now is facing allegations of being involved in a sexual relationship with an underage partner.

It is one of those things that doesn’t quite want to be processed by your mind when you hear it, as you never would associate such an esteemed character with such a dirty deed.

It’s sad, really, that Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who made Elmo a household name, now is facing his demise because of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old. Clash, a 52-year-old man, allegedly had a consensual sexual relationship with this partner seven years ago.

Although Sesame Workshop allowed him to take a leave of absence from the show, Clash announced his official departure from the show “Sesame Street” on Nov. 20.

I’ll be honest, I never was a huge fan of “Sesame Street.” I was more of a Nick Jr. kid (“Gullah Gullah Island,” anyone?), but it’s difficult not to be a fan of Elmo. His contagious laugh and innocent voice captivated children and parents alike.

Clash should be given some credit for his work, as he took a puppet no one had heard of who played virtually no important role on “Sesame Street” and turned him into one of the world’s most well-known characters and a best-selling toy, Tickle Me Elmo.

It’s unfortunate that his career ended with such scandal, but if these allegations are true, he should be ashamed of his actions and poor judgment.

Of course, if these allegations end up being true, it wasn’t Elmo who committed any crime, so viewers and fans should not associate him with the actions of the man who controls him. His character will remain an integral part of the “Sesame Street” cast going forward, as he will be played by understudies whom Clash taught during his time on the show.

And although his past puppeteer displayed poor judgment, Elmo remains the innocent, friendly character he always was and will continue to be.

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