Elmo has been silenced. At least for now.
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind "Sesame Street's" Elmo since 1985, is being accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old boy and has taken a leave of absence from the show.
Here is what Sesame Workshop has written on its blog:
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined."
The accuser, now 23, says the relationship happened when he was 16 and Clash was 45.
Clash told TMZ he did have a relationship with the young man, but only after that young man was an adult.
What will happen to Elmo?
Writes Sesame Workshop, "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."
What do you think of these claims?
Here is Clash in the 2011 documentary, "Being Elmo:"
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a kindergartner and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.