Lesson From Elmo: Don't Be Quick to Judge

In a piece at Ebony, Michael Arceneaux weighs in on the false allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor who performs the voice of Elmo, concluding that reaction to the scandal was far too swift.

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Kevin Clash (Getty Images)

Writing at Ebony, Michael Arceneaux weighs in on the false allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor who performs the voice of Elmo, concluding that reaction to the scandal was far too swift.

Kevin Clash is likely breathing a heavy sigh of relief now that the man who accused him of engaging in a sexual relationship when he was 16 years old to when Clash was 45 years old has recanted his story.

The accuser, whom The Smoking Gun has identified as aspiring model Sheldon Stephens, released the following statement from his lawyer: "[Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. [Stephens] will have no further comment."

Clash released a statement himself saying: "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."

Neither Stephens nor Clash want to discuss it any further, but the reality is that the story will haunt both for the rest of their lives--- especially Clash.TMZ, who broke the initial accusation, has claimed that while they don't know what prompted Clash's accuser to change his story "the accuser's attorney had been meeting with Clash's attorney as recent as an hour ago, discussing a financial settlement and 6-figures were on the table."

In other words, the gossip outlet can't tell you what happened one way or the other.

Not to be outdone, the now 24-year-old man who initiated the scandal has had his own past resurface. The Smoking Gun revealed that he was arrested in 2009 on charges of receiving stolen property after allegedly robbing a Los Angeles music manager of $250,000 in jewelry. Those charges were subsequently dropped, but that didn't stop the press from reporting it now to add fire to the media narrative. Still, the scandal is particularly damning for Clash, given his career as the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo and the extensive charity work he's done with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Read Michael Arceneaux's entire piece at Ebony.

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