Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash accused of sex scandal with a minor

Getty Images File PhotoEl-no! Kevin Clash

Well, this is depressing. Kevin Clash, 52, the jovial puppeteer behind Elmo from “Sesame Street,” has reportedly taken a leave of absence from the show pending accusations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy when he was 45.

Clash adamantly denies the claim, telling TMZ he did in fact have a relationship with the person in question, but that it was “between two consenting adults,” and that the accusations of underage impropriety are false.

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Sesame Workshop representatives told TMZ that they had investigated the claims themselves and found them to be false. They also claim they asked the accuser to prove the claims and got no response.

More details will no doubt unfold, but we’re betting that no matter what happens, “Sesame Street” probably won’t allow its puppeteers to have public faces anymore.

Clash has become somewhat of a celeb in his own right, especially after the documentary “Being Elmo.”

“Elmo is bigger than any one person,” show reps told TMZ. “[He] will continue to be an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ to engage, educate and inspire children around the world.”

Of course, this is coming from an outfit that encourages pig-frog love and lets gigantic birds go pantsless.

Down doobie doo down down

In the olden days of Hollywood, studio publicity machines would fabricate relationships between stars to build interest and inspire jealousy in the hearts of young fans.

Nowadays, not much has changed — rumors about the fake reconciliation of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart continue to simmer, and now the supposed break-up of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber is front-page news.

The problem is, was anyone really buying the couple in the first place? All the photo-op shots of the couple looked like bad prom photos of two cousins who couldn’t find anyone else to go with.

Bieber is a brand, and since album sales no longer bring in the bank that they used to, a star’s image is now worth more than ever.

J-Bib, unattached and on the prowl, will send hordes of 12-year-olds back to the Maybelline aisle for more concealer before you can say “One Less Lonely Girl.”

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity sightings? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com

QUICK TAKES

  • Taylor Swift tells Bazaar that she used to read gossip about herself online and “bawl.”
  • In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal in England, BBC head George Entwistle has resigned and received a controversial public-funded severance that amounts to a year’s salary. The Brits are not amused.
  • Posters of a battered Rihanna have been put up to protest an upcoming Chris Brown concert in Sweden.
  • Patton Oswalt will be joining the cast of “The Newsroom.”
  • Kenneth Branagh has been knighted.

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