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Posted at 02:23 PM ET, 11/21/2012

Accuser of Elmo puppeteer gives first interview to tabloid ‘The Insider’

Getting in just under the wire before Thanksgiving day’s orgy of football viewing, “The Insider” will Wednesday night have the first interview with the first man who claimed former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash had a sexual relationship with him when he was a minor.

And guess what Sheldon Stephens, now 24, is going to say, according to the CBS syndicated tabloid show?

If you guessed: “My name has been unfairly dragged through the media and it made me look like a monster” – you win.


FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with the "Sesame Street" muppet in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Victoria Will - AP)

“The whole world reacted in such a negative way and they haven’t really gotten a chance to know who I am and to even ask the right questions to figure out what kind of person I am,” Stephens is going to say on Wednesday night’s broadcast, “the soon-to-be-re-named “omg! Insider” told the media Wednesday afternoon.

“Rather, they reacted off of hearsay and rumor and speculation of the whole situation,” Stephens will continue, adding, “ The biggest misconception about me is that I’m a liar, extortionist.”

Stephens is the one who first claimed he had sexual relations with Clash, 52, when he was just 16, causing Sesame Workshop, which produces the show for PBS, to put Clash on leave.

Not long after, Stephens’ lawyer issued a statement to the New York Times, saying his relationship with the Baltimore-area native who had been Elmo’s puppeteer since the ‘80s, was “adult” and “consensual.”

Since then, TMZ has reported Stephens wanted to recant his recantation, and other publications have picked that up.

But “omg! Insider”-to-be did not mention what Stephens had to say about that report during its interview.

Since Stephens came forward, he’s been overshadowed by a second man who has sued Clash in federal court, claiming the puppeteer engaged in sexual behavior with him when he was 15; Cecil Singleton, now 24, is seeking $5 million in damages.

At a news conference Tuesday, Singleton said he was “shocked” when he learned, years later, that Clash worked on PBS’s beloved children’s show “Sesame Street,” CBS News reported.

Clash resigned from Sesame Workshop Tuesday.

By  |  02:23 PM ET, 11/21/2012

 
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