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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What If Kids Ask About Elmo?

A 2011 photo of Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash with the Sesame Street Muppet. (Victoria Will/AP)

Parents are struggling to figure out how to respond to the story that Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street after new allegations of sexual abuse.

Do you talk to your kids about it?

One post on The Wall Street Journal says, “If you’re young enough to believe a red furry puppet is real, no discussions are needed.”

But other parents are facing questions from their children, who are hearing the stories in the news and from playmates.

Cincinnati social worker Heidi Malott says, “it’s important that children know Elmo is a character, not a person.” To which, some parents are saying, “I grew up watching Sesame Street – I believed in the puppets.”

Guest:


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  • RAOUL

    We need a Joseph McCarthy like hearings to flush out all perverts that use children’s programs to hide their real intent. Now I am worried about the credentials of Big Bird!?!

  • Bob Shuttleworth

    I was bit concerned at Dr.
    Goldman’s comment about telling young children that Kevin Clash was the
    puppeteer that “ran” Elmo. Wouldn’t it have been far softer to tell
    them something like Kevin Clash is a man who has worked with, or is a co-worker
    of Elmo? That is not a lie, and it would separate the image of Elmo from the
    direct association with Clash.

    Elmo is a very strong symbol for
    many children. For example: I happen to sport what some think is a rather
    dashing handlebar moustache. Last summer My wife and I came across a tee shirt
    with an image of Elmo wearing a similar moustache and saying, “This might
    tickle … Just sayin’.” Of course we bought it. A few weeks later My 18
    year old son and I attended the San Diego Comic-Con convention and I wore the
    shirt. While waiting one evening for my wife to pick us up, I was sitting on a
    city bench when a woman and her young son arrived at the same place to wait for
    a bus. Immediately the son sat near me and began telling me all about himself,
    much to the mother’s distress. My wife later informed me it was due to the Tee
    shirt.

    A few nights ago I was wearing
    the shirt as we were shopping for groceries. We parted to seek different items
    and I entered an aisle where a mother with an infant and a young boy in tow was
    looking for something. Immediately the boy came towards me and was telling me
    things about himself. It was the same scenario as at ComiCon.

    Obviously Elmo means a trusted
    and welcome friend to children. to break the magic by telling children, point
    blank, that he is a puppet is, in my opinion, counterproductive. Who will the
    child then trust, if it isn’t Elmo?

    (P.S. I humbly apologized to the
    mothers during these encounters and did my best to politely separate myself.)

    I was bit concerned at Dr.
    Goldman’s comment about telling young children that Kevin Clash was the
    puppeteer that “ran” Elmo. Wouldn’t it have been far softer to tell
    them something like Kevin Clash is a man who has worked with, or is a co-worker
    of Elmo? That is not a lie, and it would separate the image of Elmo from the
    direct association with Clash.

    Elmo is a very strong symbol for
    many children. For example: I happen to sport what some think is a rather
    dashing handlebar moustache. Last summer My wife and I came across a tee shirt
    with an image of Elmo wearing a similar moustache and saying, “This might
    tickle … Just sayin’.” Of course we bought it. A few weeks later My 18
    year old son and I attended the San Diego Comic-Con convention and I wore the
    shirt. While waiting one evening for my wife to pick us up, I was sitting on a
    city bench when a woman and her young son arrived at the same place to wait for
    a bus. Immediately the son sat near me and began telling me all about himself,
    much to the mother’s distress. My wife later informed me it was due to the Tee
    shirt.

    A few nights ago I was wearing
    the shirt as we were shopping for groceries. We parted to seek different items
    and I entered an aisle where a mother with an infant and a young boy in tow was
    looking for something. Immediately the boy came towards me and was telling me
    things about himself. It was the same scenario as at ComiCon.

    Obviously Elmo means a trusted
    and welcome friend to children. to break the magic by telling children, point
    blank, that he is a puppet is, in my opinion, counterproductive. Who will the
    child then trust, if it isn’t Elmo?

    (P.S. I humbly apologized to the
    mothers during these encounters and did my best to politely separate myself.)

    • it

      The answer should be “a guy who pretented to be Elmo did something wrong.” Seperate the charater from the suspect.

  • Guest

     Did you say or do you know if Elmo is being expunged from Sesame Street reruns?  If not, why not?  Doesn’t he keep getting residuals from the broadcasts?

    • it

      What a stupid comment. The character Elmo is still a good character with a good message. It would be ignorant to throw out this icon of seaseme street because of this one individuals actions. We have laws that will punish this person if he is guilty and that is enough.

  • Steven Jones

    Pending the outcome of the allegations, how is this any different then the abuses perpetuated by Catholic Priest across the world.

    As a society, we need to be equally outraged by ANYONE who commits this crime against children.

  • it

    It is amazing the difference in tone when PBS and the BBC find pedifiles in their ranks verses the storys on the Boy Scouts. It just shows the great power of the reporter to frame the story to meet their agenda.

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