Earlier this week, TMZ reported that Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street character Elmo, was on leave because he was fighting accusations he had an underage relationship with a boy. Clash denied the claims and ultimately his accuser recanted the accusation, stating that it was an "adult consensual relationship." Now TMZ says a $125,000 settlement was made before Sheldon Stephens publicly recanted.
Andreozzi & Associates, Stephens' law firm, released a statement, "This office represented a 23-year-old man who was the subject of many media reports regarding Kevin Clash. He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter," prompting Clash to say, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."
However, according to TMZ, "The settlement document goes on to say if Stephens is asked by anyone about his relationship with Clash, he must only repeat the statement [above] in the settlement that recants his story. We've learned although Stephens signed the document, he continues to insist Clash had sex with him when he was a minor and was pressured into signing the settlement. One source privy to the negotiations tells TMZ ... Stephens was crying during final negotiations and repeatedly insisted he didn't want to sign." The Smoking Gun noted that Stephens has had many brushes with the law.
Clash did violate Sesame Street's email policy, by sending messages from his work account to Stephens, like, "I'm sorry that I keep talking about sex with you, its driving me insane. I want you to know that I love you and I will never hurt you. I'm here to protect you and make sure your dreams come true. I'll have my assistant book a ticket for you to come to NY and we can talk about this in person."