“Sesame Street” Sex Scandal: Did Kevin Clash Pay Off Elmo Accuser?
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The scandal may be over, but the situation is still sticky over on Sesame Street.
And the name of the game is “payoff.”
Sesame puppeteer Kevin Clash — the voice popular puppet Elmo since 1984 — allegedly agreed to pay aspiring model Sheldon Stephens $125,000 to recant his story that Clash initiated a sexual with him when he was 16.
In June, Stephens, 23, approached Sesame Workshop, which produces the longrunning children’s program, with the claim of his romance with Clash, 53. The puppeteer acknowledged he had a sexual relationship with Stephens but said Stephens was an adult when it began. Stephens backtracked on his claim Tuesday, saying the relationship was adult and consensual.
A settlement was struck between the two parties hours before Stephens’ recant, in which Clash agreed to pay him $125,000, a source reportedly told TMZ. Stephens signed the agreement, but he still insists the relationship began when he was still a minor and was pressured into signing the paperwork.
Insiders say Stephens was crying throughout the negotiations and insisted he didn’t want to sign the agreement.