This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was crowded by a number of stars as always, but their performances and appearances seemed to be overshadowed by the presence of Elmo. The fact that the "Sesame Street" puppet was voiced by Kevin Clash who's hit with underage-sex allegations fueled the buzz.
A rep for Macy's previously promised to have an alternate puppeteer to bring the red furry monster to life. "Current events have no bearing on Sesame's participation in the Parade and we are confident their world-renowned, family-friendly entertainment and educational programming will continue to bring kids and families joy for decades," the rep said.
In a twist of events, Elmo with a pre-recorded voice by Kevin catered the family-oriented crowd with a song titled "What Am I". The lyrics of the song actually fitted the spirit of the family holiday, but they seemed to take on a new meaning in the wake of the allegation that the voice actor had unlawful sex with two underage boys.
"I'm gonna keep my head up high / Keep on reaching high / Never gonna quit / Just keep getting stronger," Elmo sang in his signature voice along with fellow puppet Big Bird. Parading on the streets of New York on "Sesame Street" float, the red furry monster then delivered his solo line, emphasizing that "nothing's gonna bring us down."
Kevin resigned from his role as the voice of Elmo after he was hit with a second underage-sex lawsuit filed by 24-year-old Cecil Singleton. The puppeteer had previously settled a similar allegation made by Sheldon Stephens. The first accuser, now in his 20s, claimed he had sex with Kevin starting when he was 16, while the second guy, now 24, confessed he was engaged in sexual behavior with the actor when he was 15.