With the confirmation that Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned yesterday amid allegations he engaged in two relationships with young men that may have skirted or fell afoul of legal boundaries, there was much reporting of the scandal involving one of America’s most trusted brands, Sesame Street.
The exact timeline after news broke that Kevin Clash, Elmo’s puppeteer and voice, was out on the Street is not yet known.
The New York Times has been posting updates to the Elmo sex scandal’s developing twists all day, first reporting that Sesame Workshop had indeed confirmed that Clash “resigned.”
Clash followed the resignation notice an hour later with his own statement, apologizing for having to leave his role as Elmo at the beloved educational property. And now that Clash is gone, the future of Elmo remains uncertain.
Fans of the muppet may have caught Clash in Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, and many realize that in more than a few ways, the Elmo puppeteer is Elmo.
Further, those of us old enough to remember a Muppets brand prior to the death of Jim Henson also understand well how subtle differences in puppeteering are palpable and sad even to kids.
What will happen to Elmo now remains uncertain. In the short term, Macy’s confirmed that Elmo will still appear in tomorrow’s parade as scheduled for Thanksgiving. Rep for the department store Orlando Veras says Elmo “will absolutely join us in the Parade … under an alternate puppeteer.”
Veras said in a statement:
“Sesame Street has been a cherished part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for almost 40 years and will continue to be part of the Parade for years to come. Current events have no bearing on Sesame’s participation in the Parade and we are confident their world-renowned, family-friendly entertainment and educational programming will continue to bring kids and families joy for decades to come.”
It appears that whatever Elmo’s future will be without his puppeteer, many parents wish that Clash could have at least stayed until the full facts of the allegations were discovered — as the tale indeed has all the hallmarks of a needless moral panic, and the net loss to kids who loved Clash’s work is huge.
What do you think the future of Elmo will be after Kevin Clash’s resignation from Sesame Street?