The streets aren't safe these days -- and that apparently would also apply to Sesame Street.
While the iconic children's show had managed to avoid being caught up in national politics or scandals for its first four decades, lately it seems as if it's fallen prey to the same types of issues that have affected other urban neighbourhoods.
First it was Mitt Romney threatening to serve Big Bird with his walking papers if he was elected president (whew!).
But now comes the more disturbing news that Kevin Clash, the puppeteer/creator behind beloved Sesame St. resident Elmo for the past 28 years, has taken a leave of absence from the show to contest allegations that he had a sexual relationship with an underage teen boy.
Both Clash and Sesame Workshop, which conducted their own inquiry, dispute the charges by the now 23-year-old accuser, although Clash was disciplined by his bosses for violating policy regarding personal Internet usage on company time.
Despite the denial of the sexual misconduct claims, damage to the 43-year-old institution is still done, especially with the revelation following so closely on the heels of the Jimmy Savile scandal that continues to rock BBC executive suites.
The late Savile, a much-loved children's TV fixture across the pond, has since been revealed as a predatory pedophile who had conducted some of those illicit liaisons on BBC property.
Whether or not the Clash and Savile situations invite comparison -- their careers after all, did put both of them in close proximity to trusting minors on a daily basis -- the timing of the Elmo affair isn't great, what with plans for a new Sesame Street movie currently under way.
The feature, the first to hit the big screen since, ironically, 1999's The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, will be produced by Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy for Twentieth Century Fox.
It now remains to be seen whether or not that will see the light of day with the publicly-funded Children's Workshop going into full damage control mode as late night talk show hosts continue to have a field day with the news.
In the meantime, you can be sure Sesame Street is going to be on lockdown.
The last thing they need now is for Mr. Snuffleupagus to go on a drug-induced rampage or Bert and Ernie to confirm suspicions of their relationship by taking out a marriage licence.
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