Because the world is a bleak hellscape where our lost souls are stirred violently by a cold, tempestuous wind, and every smile is but the exposed leer of a hollow skull, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has been forced to take a leave of absence from Sesame Street, following allegations of his having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy. Clash, who has given voice to a symbol of childlike innocence for nearly three decades, has been charged with having a sexual relationship seven years ago with the then-teenager (who is now 23) when Clash was 45 years old, and when your heart was still young and pure, and you were able to look at Elmo without thinking about any of this. Speaking to TMZ, Clash denied the allegations, acknowledging the affair but claiming it began only after his accuser was past the legal age and, like everyone else now, a consenting adult fully aware of the difficult truths of life.
Because there is no longer a veil of blissful ignorance for any of us to hide behind, attorneys at Andreozzi And Associates—the same firm that represented one of Jerry Sandusky's victims—claim to have incriminating emails between Clash and his accuser, in which Clash acknowledges that the affair began when the boy was only 16. However, Sesame Workshop officials believe that any such emails are fraudulent—though they did discover exchanges between the two and subsequently discipline Clash for inappropriate use of company email, most likely while feeling the crepuscular gloom they had for so long kept at bay slowly seeping in.
Clash's current leave of absence, like the one recently taken by your faith in the inherent goodness of things, is ostensibly temporary, and meant to allow him time to take "actions to protect his reputation," as well as try futilely to return this nation to a place where "Tickle Me Elmo" jokes do not inspire empty, hyena-like laughter. In the meantime, Elmo will continue to appear on Sesame Street with a new puppeteer, who will manipulate his empty frame to give the illusion of vibrancy and happiness.