Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'La La La La, La La La La, Elmo's Song...'

First it was Mitt Romney who ruffled the feathers of Big Bird by threatening during a presidential debate, "I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I actually love Big Bird.... But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”  (http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/10/03/debate-quote-romney-will-cut-govt-programs-not-worth-borrowing-money-from-china-to-pay-for/)
 
Cookie Monster campaigned for Obama.
 

Now it's Elmo who is not so tickled. He lost his voice when Kevin Clash was accused of having sex with an underage boy. There's a crisis going down on the Street!
 
Don't be too quick to convict Elmo. Red monsters are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Today it appears Elmo will never be brought to trial, says-a-me. Besides, where would you find a jury of his peers?
 
I wrote Monday about the importance of preparing for a crisis involving an organization's president or other key person; how we must be ready  to respond to a crisis, even if the accusations made aren't true. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that brings us Sesame Street, chose not to hide out with Oscar in his garbage can. Instead it issued a statement Monday on its blog:
 
"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." (http://www.sesameworkshop.org/our-blog/2012/11/12/sesame-workshops-statement-regarding-kevin-clash/)   Most organizations in crisis would rather pretend it's a "Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away...." Good job, Sesame Workshop!
 
Bull Dog Reporter's Daily Dog recognized the crisis for Sesame Street and Elmo in particular. "Clash's personal battle aside, the dreaded outcome for 'Sesame Street' would be for a bad PR association to be formed between one of its most beloved characters and pedophilia."  (http://www.bulldogreporter.com/dailydog/article/pr-trouble-brewing-sesame-street-elmo-puppeteer-faces-charges-sexual-contact-minor).
 
But quickly as you can count to 10, Clash's accuser recanted, AP and other news outlets are reporting today. "In a quick turnabout, a man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy now says they had a relationship as adults and it was consensual. The man, who has not identified himself, released his statement Tuesday through the Harrisburg, Pa., law firm Andreozzi & Associates. It is not known why he made the accusation."  (http://entertainment.time.com/2012/11/14/elmo-cleared-man-recants-story-of-teen-sex-with-sesame-street-puppeteer/)
 
The entire message on Sesame's blog page today read, "We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."  (http://www.sesameworkshop.org/our-blog/2012/11/13/sesame-workshops-statement-regarding-kevin-clash-update/)
 
Sesame Workshop has to be just as happy for Elmo. It blogged two days ago, "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." 
Today's blog has been brought to you by:
the number  3   and the letter  B.
As quoted in the title of today's blog title, it's "Elmo's Song:"

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