Kevin Clash, the puppeteer and voice behind Elmo, resigned a couple weeks ago, after allegations were made that he had underage sexual relationships. Hasbro, the main toy licensee for â€śSesame Streetâ€ť products, said in a statement:
â€śWe are confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of Sesame Street and that Sesame Street toys will continue to delight children for years to come.â€ť
Really? What about parents? Experts have said that they are estimating that Elmo-related toy sales would be down maybe by about 10 percent because of the stories related about Clashâ€™s personal life. Uh, well, Elmo related toys still bring in millions, so Iâ€™m not feeling too bad for Hasbro. But while Elmo may continue to delight children, Iâ€™m not so sure, like I said, about parents.
My son, now six months, has just discovered Elmo. Meaning, my fiancĂ© put Elmo on my iPad for him and heâ€™ll watch for a good half hour (and, no, donâ€™t come down hard on me because heâ€™s watching Elmo at six months. He likes it, and mommy likes to EAT occasionally uninterrupted.) But I just canâ€™t seem to get over this whole voice behind Elmo and the allegations. I believe that I have to take the allegations seriously, especially in regard to a product and a brand that I give to my children.
Whenever I hear Elmoâ€™s voice in the background, all I can think of is, â€śDid he do it?â€ť (Meaning Clash, not Elmo.)
When my daughter was in diapers at age two and could speak, she literally would only wear the diapers with Elmo on the front. I had to buy BOXES of diapers and just pick out the ones with Elmo on the front (It was easier than arguing with her.) Personally, I find Elmo fucking annoying, just like I find most childrenâ€™s toys and characters voice annoying. Yeah, heâ€™s cute. But still. THAT VOICE!
Iâ€™m not going to refuse to let my children watch the shows just because I end up hearing, â€śElmoâ€™s World!â€ť or â€śI love you, you love me, weâ€™re a happy family!â€ť â€“ Barney) singing in my head like a broken record. But I AM actually thinking that maybe Elmo should be banned from my house. Yes, Clash resigned and yes, he hasnâ€™t been committed of a crime, but accused of one. And, yes, I do believe in innocent until proven guilty. But stillâ€¦.I will never think of Elmo the same again.
So whatâ€™s a mother to do? Does she let her child watch Elmo, with a new voice, even though Iâ€™m now soured on Elmo (again, perhaps this isnâ€™t entirely fair) And, yes, there will be a new voice. But then Iâ€™ll always be thinking, â€śThereâ€™s a new voice becauseâ€¦â€ť
My daughter, age nine, has heard about all the Elmo attention and commotion from friends at school, and Iâ€™ve also had to explain to her what happened or may have happened. Thank God, sheâ€™s way past the Elmo stage so doesnâ€™t give a shit about Elmo. But my son? Heâ€™s just getting into it.