I always knew Elmo was creepy. From the over-groomed hair face to the intense demands he makes of Mr. Noodle, that boy ain't right. Now Kevin Clash, the voice of the Elmo puppet for the past nearly three decades faces allegations that he lured a 16-year old boy into a sexual relationship. That boy, now a man of 23, is ready to step forward.
While the voice of Elmo has a right to trial, I'd like to point out a few facts about pedophiles. They gain the trust of children by choosing professions that put them in close proximity with potential victims. They are notoriously friendly with children and intentionally overly "likable" to them. If Mr. Clash leveraged his position as a child entertainer to lure this boy into a sexual relationship, it certainly fits the profile. This allegation, if true, underlines all those things about that creepy puppet voice I've never liked. No I will not tickle you, Elmo!
Some people are not taking the victim's story seriously. Consider what is more likely: a creepy puppeteer who mesmerizes children with alarming success seduces a child in close proximity and demands secrecy or a long-time frenemy of the puppeteer decides to invent a story just to burn him, risking his own reputation, time and emotional stability in the process. Sorry, but I believe people when they say they were molested as a child. There are plenty of other ways to seek revenge that don't carry such an unfortunate stigma on yourself.
I'm glad the victim came forward after all these years. Some may argue that 16 isn't a "boy" and the idea that a teen old enough to drive would be so enraptured in Elmo the puppet that he unwittingly falls into the lurid trap of a puppeteer is far-fetched. To that I say 16 is a minor. Who knows when Clash and the victim met (it could have been several years before and just turned sexual when the victim was 16) and regardless of the victim's opinion of the puppet, it is the puppeteer's profession charming kids that is the problem here. 16 may not be a "baby" but it is certainly far, far younger than the middle-aged puppeteer who could have leveraged his power and profession to exploit.
Sadly, where there's smoke, there's fire. Let's stay tuned to see if other victims come forward. Fry, baby touchers.
UPDATE: The accuser has since recanted the allegation. Either we take it at face value that the accuser indeed turned 18 before the relationship became sexual, or we speculate that a big brand with a lot to lose knows how to work a lawyer. Let's be positive and take the recantation at face value. Either way, puppets are still creepy as hell.
Filed under: Court of Public Opinion