Voice of Elmo accused of improper conduct

  • Updated: November 12, 2012 - 6:46 PM

NEW YORK - The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on "Sesame Street" is taking a leave of absence from the popular kids' show in the wake of allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Sesame Workshop said puppeteer Kevin Clash, 52, denies the charges, which were first made in June by the alleged partner, who by then was 23.

"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," Sesame Workshop said in a statement issued Monday. "We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation."

The organization described the relationship as "unrelated to the workplace." Its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised "poor judgment" and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet use. It offered no details.

No further explanation was provided, nor was the duration of his leave specified. In addition to his role as Elmo, Clash also serves as the show's senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain. He has been a puppeteer for "Sesame Street" since 1984.

Iceland's Sigur Ros coming to St. Paul

Known for its atmospheric, shimmering, elegant sound, Icelandic band Sigur Ros will perform April 3 at the Twin Cities venue known as the opposite of elegance, St. Paul's Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Fan-club ticket advance sales for the tour will begin Wednesday, and general on-sale is expected Friday or Saturday through Ticketmaster for $58-$64. Also announced Monday: Target Center will host 93X-branded hard-rock favorites Three Days Grace and Shinedown with opener P.O.D. on Feb. 5. Tickets ($25 and $40.50) go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Also, last month's Morrissey concert at the Orpheum Theatre has been rescheduled for Jan. 25. The former Smiths singer postponed to be with his ailing mother.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER.

ANNE HATHAWAY'S 'LES MIS'ERY: Anne Hathaway credits her new husband, Adam Schulman, for helping her get through the grueling filming of the screen adaptation of "Les Miserables." In "Les Mis," the 30-year-old actress plays Fantine, a struggling, sickly mother forced into prostitution in 1800s Paris. Hathaway lost 25 pounds and cut her hair for the role. She told the December issue of Vogue that the part left her in a "state of deprivation, physical and emotional," and says Shulman was understanding and supportive. The couple wed in September in Big Sur. Hathaway wore a custom gown by Valentino, with whom she collaborated on the design - a memory she says she will "treasure forever."

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