The following post is based upon At the Bar’s guest article Don’t @#$% With My Street by Redheaded Sis.
This will not be an easy article to digest for some of you, and I am prepared to deal with the criticism. One of my guest writers Lavern Merriweather taught me that things are more complicated than they appear. Nothing is more complicated than the scandal involving former-Sesame Street puppeteer and the man behind Elmo, Kevin Clash:
“For those of you not in the know, Kevin Clash is the voice and puppeteer for Elmo, the most easily recognizable childhood figure of the past two decades. Nobody in the Western world doesn’t know Elmo and there are very few in the East who are unfamiliar with him. Clash only came into prominence after the documentary ‘Becoming Elmo’ aired on Netflix and was a success.”
However, Clash’s success came to a screeching halt as young men – one after another until the total count of four – accused the puppeteer of having sexual relations with them while they are 16-17 years old. To make a short story shorter, all of the accusers claimed that they had relationships with Clash when they were young. Now, in their 20’s the men are suing Clash for millions. The reason is they are psychologically damaged. However, the first accuser was paid to drop his lawsuit, and he became virtually quiet afterwards.
It should be noted that all cases are civil, not criminal.
After the second lawsuit, Clash decided – on his own – to resign from Sesame Street.
“There are two applicable types of statutes of limitations, a six-year one based on when the right of action has accrued, and a three-year one based on when the alleged victim turned eighteen and was therefore no longer under the disability of being a minor”.
Still, Jeff Herman, a lawyer representing the three men, doesn’t buy it:
“It should be noted his motion does not say the abuse did not happen, just that it is too late to file the complaints. The law we are proceeding under recognizes the rights of victims to bring their lawsuits within six years from the time they connect their injuries to the abuse. We are hopeful the Court will see it our way, however, by being able to bring their claims forth publicly the victims are already further along in the healing process”.
Now, I don’t know much about who Kevin Clash is other than the fact that he’s the man behind one of most beloved puppets in Children’s media history. He is a black male who admitted he was gay after his first accuser went public. His career was built behind the rise and success of Sesame Street icon Elmo. He even had a documentary made called Becoming Elmo.
According to RedHeaded Sis, in the documentary, Clash did not seem to be the type to take advantage of others, but his early resignation made it appear as if he was guilty:
“In the documentary, I saw no evidence of the typical traits of a child molester. Clash was not someone who sought the spotlight or approval, he did not enjoy fooling others and even when he visited sick children with Elmo in hand, he never tried to hide the fact that Elmo had a puppeteer. He was well respected in the workshop and had moved towards the top, but not by force or by actually being driven to be the top. He became the top because of how he was able to educate others and put them at ease. People see it as a sign of guilt that he stepped down from his position at the workshop when the allegations came forward. I think he was trying not to destroy a legacy that had helped and healed so many people.”
RedHeaded Sis and I are both reminded of the child molestation accusations of Michael Jackson:
“I think it was inherent racism in our society that caused us to fully believe that a man who had dedicated much of his time to helping others was a child molester. Why do I believe this? People say if he wasn’t guilty the first time, why did he pay that family off? He was told to make it go away quickly and quietly by his team of advisors.”
Unfortunately, soon after Clash paid his accuser, three more males appeared with similar stories. Each said Clash performed sexual activities with them when they were just in their late teens. But late last year in the closing weeks of 2012, they made their claims known.
So, the thing that baffles me at this moment is why now?
It’s not a far-fetched theory that parents would pimp out their children to celebrities in the hopes to cash in on their successes. But these young men are adults now. The alleged incidents happened 10 to 15 years ago. Maybe, their families still used them to make money off of Clash’s success, or maybe – just maybe they, the accusers, took this opportunity themselves.
Another thing bothering me is how on Earth can they prove it? The Henson Corporation, the parent company of Sesame Street, found no incriminating evidence. There has been no evidence put forth since these accusations. All we have is heresay, and words alone is not a sure fire way to win a case.
Next, I can’t wrap my head around why these are civil suits and not criminal suits. I believe if a child has ever been traumatized by an adult, the family of that child should seek justice in the form of sentencing and not money. These men are just suing Clash for sexual activities years ago. But, I have to ask, ‘What child would allow their children to date an adult?’ This makes these suits even more suspicious to me.
I don’t know what it is, but I cannot simply believe that there isn’t an ulterior motive behind this. I’m not saying people should support Kevin Clash because of his many accomplishments, many – it seems – out of altruism. There are too many holes and questions can not be ruled out or ignored.
Clash’s reputation has already been damaged, and it may never be the same again even if the lawsuits are dropped. It’s hard for a black male to regain his respect and admiration, and it’s especially harder for a gay black male. People may not want him anywhere near their children because of this scandal. Even if Clash is innocent, some people will never trust him again.
I am not defending pedophiles or child molesters, but it doesn’t seem like Clash is one, and I don’t even know the man. This case has been nagging me for a while now because there are so many things not right with the accusations, not right at all.