Don't @#$% With My Street, a guest post


Redheaded Sis is pissed. Don’t F@#k with my Street!

In the recent list of faux scandals we’ve heard from celebrities, none has been so damaging and so hurtful to so many people as the witch hunt of Kevin Clash. I call it a witch hunt, because I believe that like Michael Jackson before him, Americans cannot reconcile a black male as being a kind, gentle, father figure. It gets even worse when they we find out that man is also openly gay. 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. I watched that documentary, but it was not my first brush with Kevin Clash. I am an historian by trade and the Children’s Television Workshop is one of my areas of expertise and I can confirm that Clash is the closest thing the Muppet Workshop has had to Jim Henson since his death, and that includes Brian and Jane Henson. Clash snatched Sesame Street out of the jaws of indifference by creating a character that everyone loved and wanted to relate to. Not only did he create Elmo and all the learning franchises that came with him, but he also trained and counseled other Muppeteers, as they are called, as part of what he felt was his duty. He was trained by Carroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz and he passed that down to the next generation. People at the Muppet workshops around the world frequently said that one day with Clash was worth two years of college. He taught people to see their puppets not as money making dollies, but rather as tools to teach with and that the puppet was never more important than the message it sent out, which is something Jim himself espoused.

I have watched throughout the years as Sesame Street became the first children’s show to be set in an inner city neighborhood. It was the first to feature not only a multi-ethnic cast, but also a multi-generational cast. Jim Henson hired a formerly blacklisted actor to play Mr. Hooper on his show, a risk no one else in show business was willing to take. Through Mr. Hooper, Sesame Street became multi-religious as well, since the actor who played him was Jewish and it was acknowledged during the Christmas episode. Sesame Street dealt with death with this character as well. They did not use euphemisms or dance around the topic, they told children the truth. They also addressed the fact that some people are richer than others, some are smarter, but none of it made anyone any better than anybody else and every person was capable of learning. Many people feel that the characters of Bert and Ernie were Henson’s way showing how same sex relationships could be a healthy part of a neighborhood dynamic. Officially, they were based off Neil Simon’s characters from The Odd Couple, but that in itself was also a glossing over homosexual relationship.

In the early 90s, when Sesame Street began to falter due to cut budgets and lack of interest, Elmo came to the forefront as the new star. He loved openly and without question. He admitted to being afraid and he wanted to help others. Clash and those close to him say Elmo doesn’t come from Kevin, he comes from Kevin’s parents. 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.

At the beginning of this, I referenced Michael Jackson and professed my belief in his innocence. Michael Jackson is the greatest performer of our time and his peers are Elvis and the Beatles. 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. Why do I believe it’s a lie? Because if I had been the mother of that child, no amount of money could have ever made me shut up. I would never have been able to look at myself, much less my child knowing that I had allowed them to be for sale. Also, the name of the child was withheld, but not the names of his mother and his uncle. It doesn’t take a lot for people in a community to put two and two together. Not only is that child not anonymous in his hometown, I’m willing to bet he was ridiculed and bullied for the rest of his school career, if there was one. What mother would do that to her child that only wanted justice to be served?

I find a lot of similarities in the Kevin Clash case. First there was one accuser who retracted his statement for a sum of money and then retracted his retraction. The Henson Corporation did their own investigation and found nothing. This is the same corporation who pulled their toy line from Chic-Fil-A, costing them a lot of money in the process, because of the eatery’s stance on homosexuality. Sesame Street and the Henson Corporation in general have a practice on putting morality before money. I do not believe this corporation would have kept Clash on its payroll if they had even a whiff of doubt. They are not Penn State or the Catholic Church. They also care more about their employees than their public image, hence the hiring of Mr. Hooper in the middle of the red scare and their support behind Clash. I feel it is important to note that Clash is the one who stepped down. He was not asked to, and I’m willing to bet if he wanted to return his job is waiting for him. However, like Michael before him, he wants to make the problem go away and more importantly, he wants Elmo to continue as the ambassador of peace and hope he has been for small children everywhere. That is not the mark of a selfish being, and that is what child molesters are.

Also suspicious to me is the fact that three men have come out as saying they had inappropriate relationships with Clash, but each law suit has been civil, not criminal. If you want someone to pay for what they’ve done to you, most of the time it isn’t with their checkbook. Kevin Clash is not in danger of going to jail, but he stands to lose a lot of money in addition to the reputation he has already lost. I also find it suspicious that these cases are coming to light right as we are gearing up for another Congress, another time where we will have to evaluate the budget and Public Broadcasting was already pretty low on the list of things that were going to get money. Now there’s an extra incentive to slash the budget.

Honestly, I hope that Clash fights the allegations like Michael did the second time. Michael was found not guilty because of an overwhelming lack of evidence. Yes, he was weird, yes he had some problems that needed to be dealt with, but I don’t think he was a child molester and I don’t think Kevin Clash is either. I think they are victims of a racist and homophobic society that realizes that the time of the white, straight male in a position of power is over and so there are folks doing everything they can to drag their feet and go out with a bang. It makes me incredibly angry, but at the same time, I’m proud of Kevin Clash. They wouldn’t have gone after him so hard if they hadn’t thought he was such a fearsome opponent.

Comments

  1. Amen.

    And THANK YOU.

    I have been trying to articulate my thoughts on this and found I just couldn't. You said everything I wanted to say and more.

    Mr. Clash - and Mr. Jackson for that matter - are heroes of mine for all those reasons you've illustrated, and again THANK YOU for being able to put to voice so forcefully and eloquently what I wanted to, but could not.

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  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the whole thing is very fishy. It just seems way to strange that after all this time, the accusers have kept quiet about this and have opened up soon after Clash came out. And there's something else, but I dunno what it is.

    Here's an article in support of Clash: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/12/11/kevin_clash_allegations_sex_with_underage_teens_does_not_equal_pedophelia.html

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  3. As a side note I too thought about the stuff Michael Jackson went through with his child molestation accusations when I heard about this.

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  4. "Also suspicious to me is the fact that three men have come out as saying they had inappropriate relationships with Clash, but each law suit has been civil, not criminal. "

    This is why I never "bought" the Michael Jackson allegations and this is why I was I didn't jump on the Hate Clash bandwagon. Somebody's done you wrong, you get their asses locked up.

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  5. From the beginning of Kevins ordeal, I thought that something wasn't right about his accuserand still feel the same about it. If guy #1 had this supposed inappropriate relationship with him, why did he retract his story? Then was interviewed uncertain of the relationship. Notice how other accusers follow suit if they think that some money may be involved in it (in this case)

    I just think that racism and relationship status was used against them. Kevin was an easy target because he's gay. Some people have this crazy notion that gay people molest kids. With Michael ,him being single (until his marriage with Lisa Marie),strong love for kids, and missing out on his own childhood caused him to be branded as one and being Black.. as said on here.. made them even more of a target. Media isn't interested in finding facts, they are only interested in bringing people down,especially if they are minorities.

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  6. Honestly I'm not decided as to guilt or innocence of either Kevin or Micheal. I do think they were both targeted because of their celebrity and yes, because of their money. But that doesn't make them innocent either.

    As far as Kevin goes. He was a grown man in sexual relationships with teenagers. It may have just barely been on the side of legality but that doesn't make it right. Or healthy. If the teenagers were underage, that's criminal. But even if they weren't Clash himself is 52, he's old enough to be these boys father. THAT gets a serious side eye from me regarding his moral character.

    I find it hard to believe that there wasn't some sort of exploitation and manipulation going between an 18 year old and a 52 year old man( or 45 or however old he was at the time, which is still too damn old to be having a sexual relationship with a teenager). Maybe if Clash was in his twenties, I could understand him having enough in common with these boys to be in a relationship with them but he was in his late forties early fifties. That's a hell of an age difference with which to make a meaningful relationship out of and I doubt he was even looking for that. These boys probably don't have fathers in their lives and even though they are adults they are young adults. I think he definitely used his position as a potential authority figure/role model to manipulate these teenagers to get sex from them. And after the relationship was over he tossed them aside and they justifiably felt used. Everyone I think instinctively trusts older people, especially if they are a public figure in children's television. It may not have been illegal but I find it just as morally objectionable as pedophilia when anyone does it regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

    I respect Clash's his work and his achievements and what he contributed but he REALLY should have used better judgement, especially as a public person and the same thing goes for Micheal. If he hadn't resigned he should have been fired. Lots of children look up to Elmo and they trust Elmo. Kids shouldn't get the idea that the way Kevin behaved is acceptable.

    I know I'm sounding moralistic here but the sexual orientation makes this problematic as well. Many young LGBT do date older people because their orientation makes finding an age potential partner more difficult. So they are more susceptible to predators. Which Kevin Clash probably knew damn well. Especially in high school. This is one of the reasons the new HIV infection rate so high among black men. Their older partners insist on unsafe sex practices and they are too young to have any leverage in the relationship.

    I do think this post brought up good points but I don't have any sympathy for Clash even though he is just barely not a pedophile. He was still manipulative and preying on people more vulnerable than him, although those people were not children.

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    1. He was still manipulative and preying on people more vulnerable than him, although those people were not children.

      But how do we know this for sure?

      I do think they were both targeted because of their celebrity and yes, because of their money.

      To be honest, this is what primarily concerns me and I believe that is the focus of the article.

      This thing people do where they target the rich, famous, and vulnerable (whether because of their sexual orientation or race or gender) is sickening and needs to become the focus. Should this trend continue, and it will, laws will be enacted to protect individuals from such suits should they become rich and famous before they are accused. And when that happens, some actual victims could be robbed of their justice.

      Because let's be real; whenever some broke nobody accuses a wealthy celebrity of something inappropriate which allegedly happened before that celebrity rose to riches and famous, we roll our eyes. I never once believed MJ was guilty, and though we will never know for a fact the details of what actually happened and where, one thing clear to everyone was that he had more money than God.

      Celebrities of color and/or who are gay really need to come out swinging. Fuck stepping down and fucking up your career, your legacy, and your hard work, simply because someone else wants a cut of what they something they weren't a part of and didn't earn.

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    2. By all means, if you're fucking someone, verify their age and identity first. Which brings me to another issue, if you're 18 and fucking a 52-year-old...where are your parents?

      One of the reasons pedophilia and borderline pedophilia are such problems in America is due to a specific fact we - as a society - don't like to discuss. Many parents whore out their children. They are often the ring leaders in situations like these. In the world of social work and child mental health, such parents (usually the single ones) are willing whore their kids out for a 2-bedroom in the projects or a double-wide in the park.

      So we can imagine how they must straight-up lose their minds when the man/woman in question has Kevin Clash money or Michael Jackson money.

      As comedian Bill Burr would point out, people like KC and MJ were negligent and showed poor judgment in even risking themselves this way, but unless they are convicted beyond all a reasonable doubt, they're the victims here. I know that's a sketchy perspective for some, but they're the victims here (not Schwartznegger & Woods, of course).

      Decades of work and trailblazing accomplishment are being marred and spit upon because someone else felt entitled to their checks.

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    3. "But how do we know this for sure?"

      Um...what do you think of a 52 year old man dating an 18 year old? That doesn't seem at all manipulative/exploitative to you on the part of the older partner?

      This thing people do where they target the rich, famous, and vulnerable (whether because of their sexual orientation or race or gender

      Honestly I don't think Clash was targeted. I think he had a weakness for young flesh that cost him respect and a rewarding career. If the men were say 25-35 it would have been a shocking, but not a scandal because that is considered long past childhood. The scandal was that the people he was sexually involved with were young enough that they may have been underage at the time. Not his sexuality per se. If those young men were young women I think the reaction would have been the same or worse even. And Clash was much older than them. Like old enough to be their father which is just....ewww. Especially considering that he works so closely with children.

      "if you're 18 and fucking a 52-year-old...where are your parents?"

      Like I said many gay teens are targeted by sexual predators BECAUSE they lack parental support that CIS teenagers have. Many are still financially dependent on their parents i.e. they come out, parents stop paying for college. So it's hard for them to date within their age groups, because of their sexuality and that's where the predators come in. They may not be pedophiles, but they are prying on someone who is inexperienced for one reason or another. Maybe they are preying on them one because the younger person may not have the wherewithal or confidence to insist on condom use with an older partner.

      I don't think this is acceptable for anyone regardless of their orientation and it quite frankly disgusts me. I don't think the person who does this is a victim or needs to be defended. I think a 45 year old man who makes a habit of dating people in their teens and works in children's television has some serious issues.

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    4. Many parents whore out their children. They are often the ring leaders in situations like these. In the world of social work and child mental health, such parents (usually the single ones) are willing whore their kids out for a 2-bedroom in the projects or a double-wide in the park.
      So we can imagine how they must straight-up lose their minds when the man/woman in question has Kevin Clash money or Michael Jackson money. Decades of work and trailblazing accomplishment are being marred and spit upon because someone else felt entitled to their checks.


      I get what you are saying, and I don't disagree. In my opinion I just don't think that happened in either case or that either men were innocent or victims.

      Like I've noticed this problem everywhere but especially in communities of color. As with Eddie Long or The Nuwaubians
      When our heroes are accused of something wrong, people are quick to call it a conspiracy and ignore the evidence. Not saying that anyone is doing that here, but I worry that we overlook behavior that we would otherwise find appalling in people we respect and admire, often despite overwhelming evidence. R.Kelly even had a tape and he still didn't get convicted. And many people slut shamed the girl, even though his reputation with underage girls(marriage to Aaliyah when she was 15)

      I mean wouldn't you question the behavior of a grown man who surrounds himself with children, and sleeps in bed with them,and has been accused of child molestation before? Maybe the parents were motivated by money and whoring the kids out but... what were the children testifying against him motivated by?

      I'm not trying to convince you that he was guilty but I feel like we as a community give men like Long,York, Clash,and MJ a pass on certain behaviors because "we have so few heroes" which is problematic.

      And as far as MJ goes, notice none of those kids was black? (probably because black people wouldn't be so stupid as to let their children have sleepovers with a grown man who's been accused of child molestation.) I mean I don't understand why the black community comes to his defense at all, when he wasn't whisking Tyrone away from the Ghetto to have play dates at Neverland Ranch and spoiling them with lavish gifts like he did those White and light skinned Latino kids.

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    5. Thank you for saying this so much more eloquently than I could have. This is exactly what I find so problematic about Clash defenders; even in the face of overwhelming evidence that yes, the man was soliciting sexual attention from underage boys, are we really still acting like this was a conspiracy to ruin his reputation? Where there's smoke, there's fire. And I'm not inclined to believe that anyone who openly admitted to having a relationship with the first young man who stepped forward to testify ("but only after he turned 18!") is innocent this time. Clash is a man who deserves to be respected for what he achieved with Elmo and Henson, but it most definitely doesn't absolve him of error where this is concerned.

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  7. Just to add some perspective: when child molestation cases do come to court, they are often hard to prove at least by using physical evidence, unless it is outright rape/sodomy. Usually from what I understand the children talk with a therapist who determines whether the child is being truthful. That is all they can do. My older sister and I were molested by a male cousin who was 16 on four separate occasions at family functions. I was three and my sister was nine. Our cousin only admitted to threatening to harm us, he denied forcing us to perform sexual acts on him and denied touching us inappropriately. The therapist in our case determined that we were being truthful and her evidence did help but because our cousin denied it, he was not convicted of anything he was just to receive therapy and be physiologically evaluated and we had no contact with him for years. His mother was convinced we were lying and she convinced other people on my mother's side of the family that we were. My parents believed us hence except for my grandmother and two uncles, one now deceased, we have no relationship with my maternal family.

    Just two years later this same cousin was convicted of sexual assault. He sent an apology letter from prison and apparently he's out on parole now and has "given his life to God and Jesus". Whatever, I guess that's nice for him. He's actually a preacher now. As in: with a congregation. Yeah, let that scary though sink in. And yes, his congregation knows about his past. They know. They have been very well informed by my grandmother, her friends, other members of my mother's family. And...they still come to his church.

    But anyway, just because the parents went the civil route that doesn't necessarily mean that they were motivated by money. I'm sure they were, but that doesn't mean Micheal was innocent. Just from my personal experience I at least found his behavior highly, highly suspect. Especially after watching that documentary. The only children that should be sleeping in your bed are your own, and definitely not after they reach a certain age. Even grown men who love children in normal healthy way will not do that.

    I have a feeling that if it was anyone but Micheal Jackson, with that same type of behavior he would have been convicted long ago. Just like with my cousin people have a strange way of excusing the inexcusable in people they love and admire.

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    1. AKA Cody Richardson (I'm signed into my other Google account)

      Yeah, I know it's an unpopular opinion among a lot of black people, but I also thought Michael was guilty.

      I mean, okay, so he didn't have a childhood...and there's no way to prove he did anything, but I just could not think of any other reason he would have a whole kid world at his house and invite sick children to sleep in bed with him. I just...I just cain't.

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    2. I agree with your summation. Also kinda speaking from experience one may opt for a civil case instead of criminal b/c a detective may in fact tell you that you don't have enough evidence for the DA's office to even consider your case. Like my county's DA's office wants a high prosecution rate. It's not strictly about justice. Things need to "work" or be "efficient" as well.

      So civil may be your last option, even to get the word out about someone who raped or assaulted you. And it can be very difficult to come up with evidence if something happened years ago. If there's no physical evidence it becomes a case of he/she said he/she said. And even if you have a rape kit sometimes it isn't processed in a timely fashion or at all.

      Also I find it a quite mean-spirited that anyone should determine what the victim is owed. It's their experience and they are owed whatever they require and have legal access to as a result of their enduring rape/sexual assault. And money can definitely be helpful b/c not everyone has access to compensation for therapy, medical fees, anything lost as a result of trauma.

      And also victims can have conflicted feelings about this. For me personally I don't really know what I want. I'm somewhat motivated to prevent other people from being harmed. Somewhat motivated to make sure that this person is on somebody else's radar so I don't have to worry about him and his ilk and I can just move on with my life. I don't like the idea of prison and the prison industrial complex. Statistically speaking rapists are not that likely to see a day in court and even less likely to go to jail.

      I understand people wanting to keep their childhood pure, wanting to defend their heroes but these people are not perfect. And many a national hero has done bad things and then the victims are left in the dust. Not every rapist/sexual assaulter/person who does questionable things with minors is suspicious or even seem like an evil person. It'd be nice not to wait until after such a person is dead to find out that they did these things. I'm trying to remember an example of this. A white guy from the UK who died a few years ago. He worked with sick children, was a popular and well-loved figure in the UK. But it was found out that he was involved quite heavily in sexual assault and abuse of children. I doubt many people know about it but he got the privilege of living a relatively unbothered life. He could never be held responsible for his crimes after death.

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    3. @ Marona

      Yes. Exactly. And even when people get convicted, you'd be surprised how light the sentences are.

      I think my cousin got five years for which he served three. He would have spent more time in prison had he robbed a bank.

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    4. The man I was referring to is Jimmy Saville. I'm thankful Al Jazeera was just reporting on the fall-out. He had over 200 crimes from the 1950s to 2009. Very much a predator but also someone with a huge reputation and many people to vouch for him. And it may matter that he was a white male heterosexual, with all the privileges entailed, with a huge cultural presence in media and charity communities. He had both male and female victims, some as young as 8.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ-S8fY3CbQ

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    5. @ Marona
      You're spot on with your analysis.

      That video is disturbing, but sadly reflective of reality. He probably paid out a large amount of hush money to families of his victims as well.. It's crazy that he got away with it though, with so large a number of victims. After a certain point you'd think people would notice a pattern or apparent pattern of behavior and ask some questions, do some digging.

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  8. Leo Princess1/5/13, 1:24 AM

    I'm extremely torn about this. I neither want to condemn a possibly innocent man with questionable tastes in sex partners, nor do I want to rally around a possible child molester just because he's famous and I like his work. Either way, his career is as good as cremated.

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  9. Leo Princess1/5/13, 1:31 AM

    Not to make light of the situation, but this is and the last post has made me almost 100% dead-set against having children. I'm serious as a judge when I say this - I would either kill, or severely disfigure, anyone who abused my child. That's not an idle threat.

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  10. Lifecoaster1/5/13, 10:07 AM

    I'm not gonna judge but just give sideyes all around and call it a day.

    KC has a great body of work, but letting the lower head rule cost him that. Most (not all, but like 65%) young people with older people want that cold, hard cash. He should have known the game and protected himself with confidentiality agreements and verifying ages of people he bedded. Because lets face it, this culture worships and despises celebrities at the same time. They will give you love, power, and riches but at same time are waiting to knock you down and take a slice.

    That being said, these people look money-hungry. No real person could be paid off to stay silent on something like that. These parents/people seem like they pimped their kids/themselves out and the meal well ran dry, so they wanna dig further to get some more. I know parents who if this was their children would not be famous for trying to sue, but for killing the mofo that touched their baby and confessing with a kool-aid smile. I know people people who would move mountains to see a person who ruined their lives pay. Some people may take the "20 dollars on the nightstand" treatment for themselves in a consensual encounter, but no real person would take it if they were violated and especially no way in hell if it was their kid.

    I also think of the Roman Polanski case. That girl's mom basically set up the encounter, but she, the public and the Furies still descended upon his ass. And that was before the pedo-hunt of today, so these people have no excuse.

    Only those people and God know the truth. No matter what happens now or who's really telling the truth, EVERYONE will eventually answer to a higher power for their deeds eventually.

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    1. You're pretty much saying what I'm trying to say, you're just saying it better. A LOT better.

      this culture worships and despises celebrities at the same time. They will give you love, power, and riches but at same time are waiting to knock you down and take a slice.

      Bingo. A 52-year-old man can also be a target. He can also be vulnerable, manipulated, and exploited.

      Hell, to be rich and famous is to walk around with a giant bullseye on your ass. Yes, you have to be vigilant and reserved and more discerning when interacting with people, but that does not negate the fact that you too are a victim waiting to happen.

      In ancient times, an 18-year-old was no kid; they were crowned and given empires to run. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was only 20 when he started running half the damn planet. It sucks donkey balls, but an 18-year-old is legal. Lord knows that in modern times, they shouldn't be, but they are. They can be shipped out to war, move out of their parents' homes whether their parents consent or not, and be tried as adults, including receiving the death penalty without question.

      And when the potential payout is in the millions, an 18-year-old can easily connive to do some heinous shit.

      When I was 18, I would never have touched anyone in their 20s. But had the mug been in his 90s, on his third pacemaker, and worth Bill Gates ten times over, I wouldn't have even needed my parents to scheme with me. And have to split that check with them? What???

      Money makes the situation different, whether we care to accept it or not. I remember on the Black Girls Club we talking about the Mary J. Blige chicken commercial and how she was getting paid. But as one commenter pointed out, if she were getting paid what Mary J was getting ($2 million, if anyone's curious), she would've "sung about chicken and watermelon".

      The cold hard fact is, it's one thing debate across the blogosphere about other people's unscrupulous decisions, but it's a whole other ballgame to be not rich your whole life and then suddenly have that kind of money actually within your reach. Some of us won't know who we really are until we're put in a situation where cold, hard, cash millions are within our reach.

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    2. *the Mary J. Blige chicken commercial and how she was getting put on blast

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    3. I think the problem is that people can't seem to separate the person from the work. Like I can love the person and their accomplishments but still repudiate their crimes and offenses. I don't think it takes away from the work or taints it, in most cases.

      I love Remy Ma. I hate the fact she's in jail because I can't listen to her music and I will be the first one to buy a Remy Ma album when it comes out but I know she deserves to be in jail because she shot someone. I mean it sucks, but that's what happens when you shoot people.


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    4. I loved "Being Elmo" I thought it was a good documentary. But...I can't feel sympathy for his situation. I really can't. He's a grown man. And I think he knew exactly what he was doing because he wouldn't have made a habit of doing it otherwise.

      And especially with the age..the thing you have to understand is that many men that have pedophilic tastes will often court people in their teens and groom them when they are underage with gifts and companionship to build trust, and then wait until the day the young person turns eighteen or whatever the age of consent is and then the relationship will become sexual. Because they have covered their bases legally, and can indulge their tastes without worrying about jail time. Even in the book "Lolita" there is a part where Hubert, chooses to pursue a girl because "two years ago I might have seen her coming home from school". Much of the time that's why these older men, like when there is a significant age gap, I would say of more than twelve-fifteen years, are drooling over these teenagers, because they can indulge their pedophillic urges without worry of repercussion.

      But oftentimes the relationships don't last past the younger partner becoming more mature. That's a big indication to me that it's predatory behavior. Like one of the accusers is 24 now. Still younger than Clash but not young enough to be childlike. Maybe him maturing wasn't what ended the relationship, but you have three accusers who were all in their teens, legal or otherwise, when they met and became involved with Clash and are not involved with him now that they are still young but only slightly older.

      I mean maybe Kevin Clash got taken advantage of once. I'll buy that. People still think I'm in my teens and I'm mid twenties so it's an easy mistake to make, looks wise. But once you talk to me, you can tell that I'm probably older. But I don't know how well this works for everyone.

      But...three times? Really? Really? Really? I don't understand how the younger people in the situation are being manipulative but... Clash isn't and he's somehow being taken advantage of? It goes both ways.

      And I'm telling you these pedophiles are smarter than you think. That's why single men who work with children are always suspect. They put themselves in places where they can get to their victims easily without it rousing suspicion. They will pick out kids at a young age, insinuate themselves into their lives in the guise of someone that they can trust, like a mentor or an authority figure, and then groom them until they are old enough to have sex with them legally. And all these three boys were teenagers when they met Clash. Not even 20,22,23,25,25. They were all teens. That smacks of an agenda of some kind to me on the part of Clash. If only one victim came forward I would say that he made an honest mistake but three came forward. But three people came forward which means there is probably more somewhere.

      And even if these teens did seek him out to set him up to blackmail him, especially in the way that they did, they probably did it because his proclivities are well known in certain circles. Which I mean...I don't understand how that makes Clash the victim in the situation. It makes him a ready and willing participant more than anything.

      But I can still enjoy Clash's work, and Sesame St without doing weird mental gymnastics to explain away his questionable behavior. It's like with Sandusky at Penn State. People can't separate the individual from their accomplishments and people with aberrant mental issues take advantage of that. Which is why we as a society need to stop doing that. We need to be able to say "I like this person's work, but I don't like their personal choices."


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  11. And I respect the fact that Clash resigned, not that he had much of a choice but at least he had the sense to bite the bullet and was like,"Okay, you got me." And tried to retain his dignity and move on with his life and career. That's a lot better than Polanski or R.Kelly.

    I think Sesame Street will survive ElmoGate and be just fine, without Clash. His input will be missed but I think Sesame St can endure the loss of one man however integral he was to it's development. It has proven time and time again that it's an enduring institution.

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  12. "In ancient times, an 18-year-old was no kid; they were crowned and given empires to run. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was only 20 when he started running half the damn planet. It sucks donkey balls, but an 18-year-old is legal. Lord knows that in modern times, they shouldn't be, but they are. They can be shipped out to war, move out of their parents' homes whether their parents consent or not, and be tried as adults, including receiving the death penalty without question."

    I'd like to point out that one of the reasons people were considered mature, at an earlier age than now, is because their lifespan was much shorter that ours. It's the reason people started reproducing as soon as they hit puberty and having as many kids as they could because at least half would not make it to adulthood, adulthood at that time being like... 12-16. There was no such thing as adolescence until recently because people just didn't live that long. You lived until you were 50 and that was considered a ripe old age.

    Just because teenagers can do the same things as adults, it doesn't mean they should. Just because a ten year old can become a parent it doesn't mean they should. Just because we can try as an adult/execute an 18 year old, doesn't mean we should. Moving out is a different thing as different families have different living situations for various personal reasons. And as far is the army goes, you can sign up, but I don't think you are allowed, in most cases, to deploy to combat until two years later. You still have to go through basic training and AIT first.

    I do think teenagers need some responsibility, just not all adult responsibilities unless and ONLY unless they have adult privileges too. Like getting paid the same wages as adults and being eligible for the same working hours/benefits and having a full driver's license. Not punishing people for inexperience by giving people under the age of 24 higher insurance premiums. I've been working part time regularly since I was 13 and it was annoying sometimes having basically the same responsibility as an adult but no way to mitigate it by like say, being able to get housing, or anything, without a cosigner or some other adult's permission. Or being able to regulate my class schedule the way I wanted to, and as was convenient for me because I wasn't old enough and always had to have adult permission. Like I can do it myself, I want to do it myself, I'm willing and able to do it myself but no one will let me?

    American society needs to make up it's mind and decide what an adult is. I don't even care what age they agree on, just make a concrete decision for both responsibilities and privileges. If I'm able to work, I should be able to use my money to buy liquor if I want to. What sense does it make to say I'm old enough to be a cashier at a store, and sell liquor to people, but...I'm not allowed to purchase it for myself and drink it because I'm too young for that.

    In most other countries, once you are at least 14-16 you can do that but not in America which is contradictory and annoying. Like I'm 21 and I still have to call my mom for certain records for school and stuff which wouldn't be so bad if she didn't live in another state. It's a confusing, frustrating, hassle. Specially at tax and registration time.

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    1. It sucks donkey balls, but an 18-year-old is legal. Lord knows that in modern times, they shouldn't be, but they are.

      You did read that part, right?

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    2. First, don't "think" about the military, I need you to "know." I was an x-ray tech in the Army and saw many 19 and 20 year olds that came back from Iraq/Afghanistan without limbs. And for every one at the hopsital you better believe there were more deployed. Basic training is only a few months and AIT for most jobs isn't that long. To hint that once a 17 or 18 yr old that signs up for the military will be treated like a stunted adult that needs to be coddled and held back from combat in general is insulting.

      Also, I'm a little unclear about your message. You seem to go back and forth between young adults not being mature enough to take care of things and them not. Wouldn't it stand to reason that, depending on circumstances, everyone matures at their own level? There are valid points on both sides so I remain skeptical because I know young folks that are sheltered and innnocent and, in the wrong environment, would be taken advantage of. I also know some young people that prefer much older people to date and are as vindictive as a seasoned adult. Don't be so quick to judge a situation when you are on the outside looking in because when it comes to the thin lines that are involved in this man's situation, we really don't know what happened enough to make some sweeping judgement.

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    3. First, don't "think" about the military, I need you to "know." I was an x-ray tech in the Army and saw many 19 and 20 year olds that came back from Iraq/Afghanistan without limbs. And for every one at the hopsital you better believe there were more deployed. Basic training is only a few months and AIT for most jobs isn't that long. To hint that once a 17 or 18 yr old that signs up for the military will be treated like a stunted adult that needs to be coddled and held back from combat in general is insulting.

      She's 21, remember? At that age we think a lot, talk a lot, but what we actually know is often limited.

      Also, I'm a little unclear about your message. You seem to go back and forth between young adults not being mature enough to take care of things and them not. Wouldn't it stand to reason that, depending on circumstances, everyone matures at their own level?

      Bingo.

      Don't be so quick to judge a situation when you are on the outside looking in because when it comes to the thin lines that are involved in this man's situation, we really don't know what happened enough to make some sweeping judgement.

      Thank you. That's...all...I'm saying.

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  13. I did, did you read the rest where I explained that 18 is legal in some instances but not others for seemingly arbitrary reasons and went on to explain why that should be changed as well?

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    1. I'll tell you what I'm reading.

      I'm reading an irritable commenter who has a nasty age-old habit up showing up on this blog and arguing for the sake arguing. You also have a condescending habit of lecturing people on things they already know.

      This comment I'm writing will be 27th comment on this post, and out of those 27, you've written the most (with a noticeably hostile tone towards whomever you're responding to, might I add). I get the impression you're looking for something to fight about; you're not remotely interested in listening to anyone else nor respecting their perspective.

      This isn't the first time you've done this here and when your name first came up in moderation, my eyebrow went up. I've gotten emails about you before and I suspect I will getting some again. Just so you know, commenters with your style of communication tend to drive people away from discussion. You're combative, ill-tempered, and you need to get over whatever's bugging you because if I were to be completely honest, your attitude hasn't been missed.

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  14. I don't think that those young men would have wanted a relationship with Clash if he hadn't been famous. He seems to have been taken advantage of, too, as much as they were.

    Personally, I think his judgment is more than a little suspect, but a then 45-year-old with a 16-year-old does not make that 45-year-old a pedophile. Ephebophile, maybe - but by appearance and (in most states) law, that 16-year-old was a sexual adult. Having sex with someone in their mid-teens makes me question Clash's impulse control, but the age difference is much less of a concern for me.

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    1. I don't think that those young men would have wanted a relationship with Clash if he hadn't been famous. He seems to have been taken advantage of, too, as much as they were.

      That's all I'm saying.

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  15. I think the overall thing is we don't really know what happened. Clash could have taken advantage of those kids, but those kids could have taken advantage of Clash. Let's not act like teenagers are not capable of doing those sort of things. I mean some teenagers have been convicted of planning and executing the murder of their parents. So yes teenagers can be just as shrewd as adults. I think Clash made a terrible mistake in judgement. He should have thought about his career and his position as a black man. If a white man was thought of doing these sort of things, society gives him the benefit of the doubt. But a black man does not have this luxury. 20 year career down the drain and now the suspicion of being a child molester on top of that. It's hard to come back from.

    AC

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  16. I can see both sides of the discussion but I can not get behind the fact that someone made the comment that they don't consider a sixteen year old having sex with a forty year old individual the actions of a pedophile.
    To me that sounds crazy, I mean what age does a child need to be so that a person is considered a pedophile. To me, a pedophile is any person who has has sex with a minor/child/infant/baby, and sixteen is a child no matter how grown they may seem.
    But at the end of the day, we don't know everything that went down and only those involved and God do so...that's all from me. And thank you K and everyone else for their comments/opinions, love this site!

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  17. I hate to go back to this, but it seems that yet another accuser came forward saying the same thing. (I'm sure you must've heard of it already) This is the fifth one. And I think the first one who retracted his story, but retracted this retraction has added something new to his story as well. I don't remember what it was exactly, but he mentioned drugs, as we are told.

    Ankhesen, I'm telling ya. It's getting worse and worse. I wonder what Red-Headed Sis would say about this rain cloud turning into a storm. Clash's reputation is pretty much in the toilet even if he is found not guilty. A gay black man who worked with children accused of not one, not two, but five sexual assaults against just as many young men needs a miracle to land on his feet.

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