That didn’t take long. Already, people who think they’re super funny in 140 characters or less are cracking jokes about a prominent man supposedly sleeping with a teenage boy. We knew that some wouldn’t be able to control themselves when the news broke that Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer behind Sesame Street‘s Elmo, was taking a leave of absence after allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
However, I have to admit that I was both shocked and a little disturbed that it wasn’t just immature teens with a couple dozen followers making inappropriate Twitter jokes about a very serious case. It seems like even well-established media personalities, comedians, and writers just couldn’t help themselves with the “Tickle Me Elmo” crap.
Just to be clear, those jokes aren’t funny. They aren’t appropriate. While we’re still talking about unsubstantiated charges that Clash vehemently denies, the possibility that this young man was taken advantage of by a successful actor is real. Both Kevin Clash and his accuser deserve to have this situation be treated with respect. Having sex with minors isn’t a joke, and plenty of these people should know that. Yet, here they are, making sad jokes about the actor behind a beloved childhood character possibly having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.