In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a then 23 year old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo.
We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.
Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.
Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.
On Sunday over 20,000 people will march down New York City’s 5th Avenue in celebration of and appreciation for our nation’s veterans, and Sesame Workshop is proud to stand alongside them. The annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, the largest in the country, has been just one part of the many ways Americans show our thanks to our veterans and their families for 93 years.
This year, Sesame Workshop did a little something extra to say thank you: Associate Design Director of Special Projects Louis Henry Mitchell created the above painting as a special way of saying thank you to all the men and women who either currently or once served in our nation’s military and their families. On Thursday Mitchell and other members of the Sesame Workshop team presented it to the United War Veterans Council, which puts on the Veterans Day Parade. Read More
After Hurricane Sandy struck, Sesame Workshop sprang into action. Elmo took to the airwaves to calm children and help them understand the disorder surrounding them. We used our social media outlets to make sure as many affected families as possible were aware of the resources and tools offered by our hurricane outreach kit. And this Friday we’re airing a very special episode of Sesame Street. Read More
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, and yet it is one of the most common environmental health problems for American children under the age of six. That’s why UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop partnered to provide parents with helpful prevention information, encourage lead testing and share tips to help families stay healthy. Read More
Photo Credit: Rachel Garber
Ed. Note: Rachel Garber is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sesame Street was in San Francisco last week to catch some of the annual October sunshine that gets San Franciscans through its famously cold summers. On Oct. 16, students at ER Taylor Elementary chattered excitedly to each other on the blacktop, but not about the weather: They were talking about their teeth.
“I brush for three minutes—not two, just to be safe,” one 5th grader bragged to his friends as his class waited to have their teeth examined by volunteer dentists. Their school participated in a three-day dental screening program Oct. 15-17 in San Francisco, as part of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids a Smile initiative. Read More
Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to San Francisco to be a part of the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile oral health screening program, which took place at two elementary schools and a hospital over the course of three days. In collaboration with the San Francisco Dental Society, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Colgate’s Bright Future, Bright Smiles program, and the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, over 2,000 San Francisco children received free oral health screenings and education on those three days. We were a part of these events for our work on our Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me outreach initiative, with the ADA distributing over 2,000 of the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me kits to all of the participating children, along with free toothbrushes and toothpaste. Read More
Ed. Note: Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s archivist.
How would you update a classic? Take a treasured story from one era and spruce it up for a new century’s readers?
Sesame Workshop has produced over 1200 books in a variety of formats since the early 1970s. Part of the philosophy of our publishing group is the willingness to tell stories in whatever formats will attract and reach preschoolers. Animated book apps and e-books are the most recent formats in which Sesame Street characters have come to life. For the Workshop, an eagerness to create books in emerging digital formats is tempered by the need to balance innovation with our mission of education. It is a delicate balancing act, but one that the Workshop’s publishing group has pulled off time and time again. Read More
Cinemagic students during a class at Sesame Workshop
Ed. Note: Robert Harvey is a student at De La Salle College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he writes music.
I recently attended an educational workshop at Sesame Workshop in New York as part of an international film festival hosted by Cinemagic, a youth charity organization based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Cinemagic aims to eliminate societal boundaries by bringing people tuogether from all backgrounds who want to break into the film and music industry. It offers opportunities like the one I received: I came over to New York and attended film festivals and classes at places like Sesame Workshop. Read More
Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and, as is our general practice, have requested that both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials.
A few days before the first Presidential debate I talked with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien about Sesame, not knowing that with all the issues we face in this country, the Presidential election would come down to a referendum on Big Bird! But that is what Governor Romney made it when he said he liked Big Bird, but would cut PBS funding.
I had tried to explain that Sesame Workshop as an independent, non-profit organization cannot just depend on PBS for funding, and that most of our revenue comes from private contributions and from licensing fees from our characters.
But that’s only half the story. Sesame Workshop has created a financially sustainable model to fund production of our educational programming here and around the world. But Sesame Street would not exist were it not for PBS and its local stations, which is the distribution system for Big Bird and friends to reach all children across the United States, particularly the low income children who need us most.
There have been over 80 million graduates of Sesame Street in the U.S. since 1969, and longitudinal studies have shown that children who grew up watching Sesame Street had 16% higher grade point averages throughout high school!
A CNN poll said 7% of the American public think that PBS gets as much as half the US budget! 30% think it’s 5%. In reality it’s 0.014%. Let’s keep that in perspective and also not forget the return on that investment: millions of children who have benefited from early childhood education brought to them by the letters, P. B. S.!