Nov 19 2012, 11:58pm CST | by Mark Raby
The man who claimed that the voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash, engaged in a sexual relationship with him since he was 16, but then later took back his accusations, is now saying that he was pressured into recanting his statements. He says he stands by what he originally said.
TMZ, which has of course been all over this story, reports that the accuser, who has since been identified as Sheldon Stephens, is working with a lawyer to try to get out of a settlement he reached with Clash.
It was originally reported, by TMZ, that in exchange for his recanting of the allegations, Stephens was paid a handsome $125,000. Why he would want to try to reverse that begs all sorts of questions.
After Stephens had originally taken back his statements, Clash issued a statement that read, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."
Obviously this case is quite different than it would be for pretty much any other actor, because of the family-friendly and wholesome qualities that Elmo exudes.
Nevertheless, Clash has not been fired. He is only on a leave of absence while Sesame Workshop works on "taking actions to protect his reputation."
Elmo will not be taking a vacation from the show, though. "Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years," the company said.
Via TV Guide
With more than 10 years as a professional writer, Mark Raby has an undeniable pulse on the latest trends. From the quiet rumors to the breaking news of the day, his eagle eye is always focused on the newest scoop and figuring out how and why the big newsmakers are noteworthy and relevant. He is based in New York City.
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