Not So Sunny Day…
I'm depressed to hear that Kevin Clash, the performer responsible for Elmo on Sesame Street, has resigned. If he indeed had what we call an "inappropriate relationship" with a minor, a resignation is probably justified. Consorting with a kid is inexcusable…but it's still a shame and it's not enough to say he should have known better.
I met Mr. Clash ever-so-briefly at the Daytime Emmy Awards this year. As you may recall, I was there to help June Foray present several statuettes and to pick up one of her own. Clash was a presenter not long before us. After June got hers, I was escorting her out to the lobby and Mr. Clash came up to her, shook her hand and said some very nice things to her about how her work had been so important and inspirational not just to him but to several generations. He did not introduce himself, perhaps because he had just been on stage (and assumed she knew from that who he was) or perhaps he just thought it didn't matter. But June was a little overwhelmed at that moment and graciously accepted the words of this unknown (to her) person. I, aware who he was, shook his hand and told him that most of what he'd just said to June applied to him, as well.
And that was it: About a minute, maybe a minute-thirty. Moments later when I told June who that was, she was startled and wished she'd known at the time so she could have told him how much Elmo is loved.
Elmo is loved. Right now at the Childrens Television Workshop, they're probably having discussions about whether someone else can take over the role or whether Elmo will live on only in reruns. Either one would be a sad option.