No doubt you’ve heard the accusations against Kevin Clash, the creator of and voice behind Elmo. I believe him. I believe the official statement from Sesame Street. I believe in Elmo and in fact am going to see him this Saturday at the opening of the holiday event at Sesame Place. And here’s why.
The official Sesame statement says that they investigated in June and found nothing. Penn State and the whole Jerry Sandusky thing had just become public in November, six months earlier. A business as large as Sesame Street and the Elmo empire–they had to have been aware of the tumble that Penn State football took. To either ignore the claimant’s accusations or try to cover them up would have to be a demonstration of stupidity so large you can’t comprehend it. There is no doubt in my mind, that during that June investigation, that comparisons to Penn State and Sandusky were mentioned more than once. It’s just not possible, with that incident so fresh in everyone’s mind, that one whistle-blower wouldn’t have come forward if there was any substance to this. It’s not possible, after watching all those PSU administrators on TV, day after day, that the Sesame organization wouldn’t have done an extremely thorough investigation. If it’s true, that’s such an enormous disregard for not only children, but the law, that I can’t even wrap my brain around it.
Kevin Clash is openly gay. And unfortunately, in our society many people still think gay=pedophile. There is a huge difference. Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile, but to my knowledge, heterosexual. Pedophilia is not related to sexuality and it’s an insult to people who are gay to make this unwarranted connection.
If it turns out to be true, I am prepared to eat crow. I’m also prepared to keep on visiting Sesame Place several times a year and purchasing Sesame Street merchandise (I could open a boutique, seriously!). Kevin Clash is just one man, he is not Elmo just like he is not Santa Claus. Elmo is Elmo and just like when Mr. Henson died and they replaced Kermit’s voice, they’ll replace Elmo’s voice. Heck, if Steve Perry from Journey can be vocally replaced, so can Elmo.
Here is my son, having his first EEG:
That’s a picture taken with a phone and it was 2007. What was comforting him? His Elmo doll.
Here he is that same year, visiting the Elmo at Pyle’s:
And here he is, loving on his Elmo doll:
And getting his first Tickle Me Elmo doll during Christmas of 2008:
I’m sorry–the photo hosting site that I used disappeared with no notice. Now I lost a bunch of great pictures,bummer.
And here, I took a photo of a photo, but it’s from last month. Over six years old and still in awe of Elmo.
So for all of these reasons, we’re sticking with Elmo. As you can see, he has been there for us for the past 6 years, through good times and bad. Now we’ll be there for him, still watching the show, still visiting the park, still buying merchandise and hoping that the truth is already out.
ETA: Since this post was published, several other accusers have come out and Mr. Clash has resigned. I still believe in Elmo, and I still believe that Kevin Clash did not do anything criminal. I think that maybe he made some decisions, that in retrospect were not great decisions and maybe a bit reckless and promiscuous. And we don’t like to talk or even think about promiscuity and men who are gay; it makes us uncomfortable. But I still don’t think he did anything criminal and wish him the best.
ETA: Again–the cases were unfounded and thrown out of court or withdrawn. It’s a shame that he lost his job over this, but just shows how much he believes in Elmo too–enough to give up the lovable creature that he created so that Elmo wouldn’t be a part of the controversy.
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