Voice of Elmo Accused of Relationship with Teen
The puppeteer who voices the Sesame Street character Elmo has been granted a leave of absence from the long-running children's show in the midst of an allegation that he had a past relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
The Sesame Workshop issued a statement Monday saying that it first learned about the allegation against 52-year-old Kevin Clash last June by a then 23-year-old man who claimed to have begun a relationship with Clash when he was 16. Clash has denied the allegation.
RELATED: Sneak Peek of Documentary Being Elmo
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," the statement said. "We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation."
The Sesame Workshop said it conducted its own investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated, but it did determine that Clash violated policy."Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.
VIDEO: Flashback - Destiny's Child on Sesame Street
The statement said the leave of absence was granted to allow Clash to take actions to protect his reputation from what he calls the "false and defamatory" allegation of underage conduct.
Related stories on ETonline.com:
Walters on Lohan: 'She Has A Lot of Problems'
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Like us on Facebook?
UP NEXTI am a Woman
From Crowd Ignite