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Bert & Ernie Spark Equality Debate After Bakery Refuses To Create 'Support Gay Marriage' Cake


Sesame Street Jim Henson The Muppets

A Northern Ireland bakery has been contacted by the government and is facing legal action after it refused to create a cake with an image of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie and the words "support gay marriage" on the icing.  There has long been controversy surrounding the sexual orientation of the Sesame Street characters, which whilst an interesting point, isn't exactly the issue here. 

Bert and Ernie
Ernie and Bert have sparked debate in Northern Ireland.

Read More: Sesame Street Spoofs The Hunger Games With Catching Fur.

Continue reading: Bert & Ernie Spark Equality Debate After Bakery Refuses To Create 'Support Gay Marriage' Cake

Benedict Cumberbatch Hits The Big Time, Meets The 'Sesame Street' Gang


Benedict Cumberbatch The Muppets Sesame Street

Benedict Cumberbatch is without doubt one of the world's most in-demand actors following strong turns in 12 Years a Slave, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Fifth Estate and of course Sherlock, though even he appeared impressed with meeting the cast of Sesame Street.

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch Met The Muppets on Sesame Street

The British actor appeared in a video with a couple of Muppets posted on PBS's YouTube channel on Tuesday (February 4, 2014). With the help of Count Von Count and Murray Monster, Cumberbatch explained how to count up four apples and three oranges.

Continue reading: Benedict Cumberbatch Hits The Big Time, Meets The 'Sesame Street' Gang

A Week In Music, We Catch Up With Diiv's Cole, Icky Blossoms Unveil Their Self-Titled Album And Cookie Monster Shows Restraint In Icona Pop Cover


DIIV Kings Of Leon Vampire Weekend Willy Moon Manic Street Preachers Icky Blossoms Oi Va Voi Sesame Street Icona Pop Drake George Duke

Brooklyn band Diiv

A week in music videos... We caught up with Brooklyn band DIIV last week as they are currently enjoying the 2013 festival season. Talking to lead member Cole, he explained just how different it was playing festivals compared to club gigs, that it was more about coming into the world of the fans rather than bringing them into your own. He was also not shy about admitting that the pressure of working on a second album has lifted. 'People are gonna be way more patient and wanna hear what you come up with', he says. 'The first record you have to have a clear statement of purpose like a sound and catchy pop songs.' As well as taking the time to chat to us, we were treated with an uplifting live rendition of their song 'Human'. Watch the full interview here and watch the live video for Human.

With the release of their highly-anticipated sixth album 'Mechanical Bull' imminent, Kings Of Leon follow up the audio release of its first single 'Supersoaker' with a grainy, retro-style, artistically produced video. Just as we expected, 'Supersoaker' is made of the anthemic, driving and infectious stuff that previous international hits 'Use Somebody' and 'Sex On Fire' are made of and we certainly can't wait for what looks to be another well-loved record that will see us through the autumn. Watch the video for Supersoaker here.

Continue reading: A Week In Music, We Catch Up With Diiv's Cole, Icky Blossoms Unveil Their Self-Titled Album And Cookie Monster Shows Restraint In Icona Pop Cover

The New Yorker Celebrates Historic Moment For Marriage Equality By Outing Bert And Ernie On The Cover


Barack Obama Sesame Street

DOMA is dead, America is cheering and Bert and Ernie are celebrating with a quiet night at home – at least this is how The New Yorker envisions the new face of the US. After the Defense of Marriage act was shot down by the Supreme Court yesterday, the magazine released its aptly themed July cover – just on time to catch the end of LGBT Pride month as well. The cover shows Bert and Ernie, the infamous Sesame Street roommates, cuddling in front of a TV with the image of the Supreme Court. While Sesame Workshop has repeatedly stated that Bert and Ernie are just living together platonically, The New Yorker isn’t buying it, and neither is anybody else and what's wrong with being the face of a major social movement anyway?

Barack Obama, Port of Miami
Obama supports equal marriage rights and now, so does the Supreme Court.

DOMA, the act in question, would have outlawed marriage for same sex couples on the federal level, making it impossible for said couples to marry, even in states, where they were previously allowed to. While the Supreme Court’s ruling against the federal ban on same sex marriage is a new development, the cover itself has been floating around the internet for a while now. First posted by artist Jack Hunter to the tumblr page Blown Covers, the image, entitled “Moment of Joy” originally featured Barack Obama onscreen. This happened right after the president voiced his support for marriage equality, breaking The White House’s long-standing silence on the matter.

Continue reading: The New Yorker Celebrates Historic Moment For Marriage Equality By Outing Bert And Ernie On The Cover

The 'Parents In Jail' Topic Is Next On The Chopping Block For Sesame Street


Sesame Street

Sesame Street is undoubtedly a great educational show – teaching kids to read, count, deal with a parent in jail, etc. The show hasn’t shied away from touchy topics like divorce and military deployment in the past, so the choice to add a character who has a parent in jail seems fairly natural at this point.

Max, the adorable blue muppet, faces some big challenges for a little kid, but that’s the whole point. “I just miss him so much,” the fuzzy blue-haired muppet says of his locked-up dad, adding, “Sometimes I just feel like I want to pound on a pillow and scream as loud as I can.”

The character is being introduced during a teaching-group for 3-to-8-year olds called 'Little Kids, Big Problems.' He will not become a regular on the actual program, but none the less, the folks at Sesame Workshop think Max is an important step towards complete inclusiveness on Sesame Street. Sesame Street's has always aimed at representing the experiences of all children in an accessible, understanding way and the character will relate to some children.

Continue reading: The 'Parents In Jail' Topic Is Next On The Chopping Block For Sesame Street

Cookie Monster Sculpture Thief Wants To Hand His Theft Back


Sesame Street

We’re starting to get a bit wary whenever a Sesame Street character makes a news headline; not because we don’t love the Jim Henson-created critters, but because they seem to be becoming ever indelibly linked to Bad Stuff. Don’t believe us? How about the voice actor for Elmo allegedly getting involved in sexual activities with underage boys? That one was chilling. Not on the same scale, but Katy Perry’s revealing dress when she appeared on Sesame Street was also a little shocking. So it’s safe to say we’re a little worried to be reporting something about the Cookie Monster.

It’s actually not the Cookie Monster at all, but it’s someone dressed as him, and they’ve done some more Bad Stuff. A man wanted in Germany after allegedly stealing a 44 pound century-old cookie sculpture has apparently sent police a note. Is he holding them to ransom? Has he told them that he’s stolen something else? No, he’s decided he’s going to hand it back in.

The bronze item was taken from German cookie baker Bahlsen’s in Hannover last month, according to the Idaho Statesman. Police received a picture of someone dressed like the cookie monster holding what would appear to be the stolen cookie. The new note, in which the thief asks to give it back, has been written in cut out letters. Sesame Street eh. It seems to attract all the nutters.

Sesame Street: "D Is For Divorce: Big Feelings On Sesame Street"


Sesame Street Elmo

American breathed a sigh of relief when President Obama was re-elected, not because of his Medicare plans or immigration policies, but because the alternative would have been Mitt Romney, who had released plans to cut funding to PBS, which would have effectively meant cutting funding for Sesame Street.

The beloved show has proved its worth once more this week with an episode focussing on divorce. Sesame Street has never been a vacuous show, and was once of the first edutainment shows- everyone loves and learns from Count Dracular. But as the show itself comes under the radar since one of its executives was effectively forced into resignation due to allegations of underage sex with boys, dealing with more serious issues has become increasingly pertinent, such as divorce.

In the episode frilly pink fairy Abby Cadabby talks to Elmo about her two houses, one where she lives with Mommy and one with Daddy. Accompanying the episode is an online video from the Sesame Street makers, explaining their decision.

Continue reading: Sesame Street: "D Is For Divorce: Big Feelings On Sesame Street"

Sesame Street Divorce? Kids Show Adds It To Repertoire Of Tough Subjects To Cover


Sesame Street Elmo Kevin Clash

It's hard to underestimate the influence of Sesame Street on young children growing up, waking up before the sun does and sitting in front of a world of knowledge, fuelled by talented writers and told via puppetry.

And with that power, comes a responsibility to tackle relevant subjects for children, without shying away from something that can benefit them in later life. This is why Sesame Street - amidst a challenging period, with the Kevin Clash sex rumors still going strong - have approached the issue of divorce. It seems this time, though, that the children have influenced the show, rather than the other way round, as the writers and producers realized that most kids know about it already. The tough matter was approached via the character of Abby - a fun-loving pink fairy with sparkly hair - who holds up two drawings of houses; one where she lives with her mommy and the other where she lives with daddy. She later explains to Elmo that this is because of a divorce, and that she felt sad to begin with, but got used to it after a while. 

Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro told Time: "Writing about divorce is not easy.  My approach was from the point of view of Abby whose parents have gone through a divorce in the past, so that it is not a new, raw emotion."

Continue reading: Sesame Street Divorce? Kids Show Adds It To Repertoire Of Tough Subjects To Cover

Divorce Comes To Sesame Street


Sesame Street

That's right, the time has come for a Sesame Street divorce. “This is my house... and this is my other house” chirps fluffy pink fairy Abby Cadabby in a preview for this week’s episode of Sesame Street. Throughout it’s 43-season run, the show has aimed to educate and to include children of all backgrounds by tackling the topics that others have shied away from. Subjects like adoption, natural disasters and death have all come up in episodes, in an attempt to help kids come to terms with them. This is what the Sesame team is doing again, with the topic of divorce, TIME magazine reports. With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, the producers feel that the subject cannot be ignored any longer.

Divorce is a touchy area and not one that the show tries to approach for the first time. Originally, the divorce episode starred Snuffy – everyone’s favorite awkward elephant. It was written, recorded and edited, but, when showing the scene to a test audience of pre-schoolers, the producers got a reaction, far from what they expected. The children were confused about what was going to happen to Snuffy, where he was going to live and thought that his parents didn’t love him any more. Some got scared their own parents would get a divorce. The reaction was the exact opposite of what the Sesame team had hoped for. This time, the topic is approached from a completely new angle.

Abby’s parents have been divorced for a long time – long enough for the lovable fairy to get used to it and make the best of her new situation. “Abby’s very happy-go-lucky. She’s a great person to show that there’s hope.”

Continue reading: Divorce Comes To Sesame Street

Elmo's Kevin Clash Comes Under Fire For A Fourth Time With Another Underage Sex Accusation


Elmo Kevin Clash Sesame Street

It has been over a month since Kevin Clash's first confused accuser came forward to sue the voice of Elmo for sex with an under age boy. Since then another three people have also sued Clash. The fourth accuser's suit has filed a suit, made public knowledge today, under the name John Doe (either that's a pseudonym or his parents have an interesting sense of humour). This is the third lawsuit still in action as the first accuser agreed to a financial deal and chose not to further the litigation. 

The details of Doe's case, according to TMZ, state that "he's suffered tremendous emotional, mental and psychological damage as a result of the relationship." Doe's lawyer, Jeff Herman (who is also representing two of the other accusers) has also said that: "According to our lawsuit, Kevin Clash knowingly paid to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of satisfying his sexual interests." Apparently, this took place in the mid to late '90s when the victim was 16-17, and Clash in his 30s.

The suit claims that Clash and Doe met in Miami in 1996, struck up a relationship and spent a lot of time on the phone before Clash offered to pay for a flight to New York. Doe then stayed at Clash's home for four days, according to CBS. Clash has already resigned from Sesame Street where he was a creative executive producer and the voice and puppeteer of the beloved character Elmo.

Continue reading: Elmo's Kevin Clash Comes Under Fire For A Fourth Time With Another Underage Sex Accusation

Sesame Street Director Emily Squires Dies Ages 71


Sesame Street Kevin Clash

Emily Squires, part of the Sesame Street team, directing multiple episodes, and applying her talents to soap operas including The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, has died aged 71.

Squires directed the "Sesame Street" children's television series from 1982 to 2007 while also writing for the program; her husband, Len Belzer, said on Friday (Nov, 23) that the cause of death is yet to be determined, The Huffington Post reports. A member of the popular Sesame Street show, which has been plunged into controversy surrounding the Kevin Clash sex scandal, as one of the programs most loved characters, Elmo, is under intense scrutiny, Squires death marks an incredibly sad month for all involved. Clash has since resigned from his position amidst the allegations levelled against him. She directed several Sesame Street TV specials as well as other children's programs such as the PBS show Between the Lions, which promoted reading and learning. She also was a scriptwriter for soap operas including The Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, The Secret Storm and As the World Turns, proving herself to be one of the biggest talents in television.

Emily Squires had also been acknowledged in the categories of Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team, and Outstanding Directing in a Children's series with fifteen Daytime Emmys nominations. 

Elmo Stands Tall: Not Even A Sex Scandal Can Stop The Sesame Street Veteran


Kevin Clash Elmo Sesame Street

Elmo is refusing to retire from Sesame Street, despite Kevin Clash leaving the show following high profile underage sex allegations. The loveable puppet sang his heart out during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday (November 22, 2012), reports TMZ.com.

Along with the rest of the Sesame Street cast, Elmo sang 'What I Am', which includes particularly apt lyrics given the goings-on of the past couple of weeks. Elmo sang, "I'm gonna keep my head up high, keep on reaching high, Never gonna quit, Just keep getting stronger." In his solo part, Elmo belts out, "Nothing's gonna bring us down." Veteran Sesame Street star Kevin Clash resigned from the show this week following new allegations that he had sex with an underage youth. An earlier accuser made similar allegations before recanting them, however, he claimed to have been forced into signing a settlement deal worth over $100,000. A statement said, "Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization.This is a sad day for Sesame Street."

A lawsuit filed in federal court in New York accuses Clash of persuading Cecil Singleton to meet for sexual encounters when he was just 15-years-old.

Continue reading: Elmo Stands Tall: Not Even A Sex Scandal Can Stop The Sesame Street Veteran

After Second Accusation, Kevin Clash Elmo Puppeteer Resigns From Sesame Street


Kevin Clash Sesame Street Elmo

Kevin Clash, the Elmo Puppeteer accused twice of sex with an underage person, has resigned. Earlier this month, Sesame Street avoided a hard fate when Barack Obama was re-elected, Mitt Romney having threatened to axe the budget for PBS. However, sadly, as the second accuser has come forward, Sesame Street's luck has worn thin and Clash has resigned from the show, reports E!

Last week a 23 year old man named Sheldon Stephens came forward with accusations against Clash, saying that he and the Sesame Street co-executive producer had sexual relations when Stephens was just 16. Stephens later recanted the statement... only to recant his recant a few days ago. Yesterday a further accusation arose from Cecil Singleton, claiming that he and Clash had an innappropriate relationship when Singleton was just 15. Apparently, Singleton has filed a $5m lawsuit against Clash.

In a statement, Clash said: "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart," he said. "I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."

Continue reading: After Second Accusation, Kevin Clash Elmo Puppeteer Resigns From Sesame Street

Elmo Sex Scandal: Accuser To Forfeit $125,000 And Stick By His Story


Kevin Clash Elmo Sesame Street

The man who accused Kevin Clash - the voice of Elmo - of having sex with him while he was just 16-years-old is sticking by his story. As was previously reported by TMZ.com, Mr Sheldon Stephens entered into a $125,000 settlement in which he confirmed that his sexual relationship was Mr Clash was adult and consensual.

The agreement released late last week read, "Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement ... 'He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship," though Stephens is said to be having second thoughts and wants to give up the $125,000. He met with his lawyers in Los Angeles and told them he was pressured into recanting the allegations and insists he had sex with Clash while he was just 16-years-old. Stephens will gladly forfeit the $125,000 to tell the truth about their time together and was reportedly crying throughout the final negotiations, initially refusing to sign.

Clash's lawyer said on Friday (November 16, 2012) that he had no comment on the settlement story, though we're pretty sure this one is going to run and run and run. 

Continue reading: Elmo Sex Scandal: Accuser To Forfeit $125,000 And Stick By His Story

Elmo's In The Clear! Kevin Clash's Gay Relationship Was Very Much Legal


Kevin Clash Elmo Sesame Street

Elmo is back, people! The man who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Sesame Street star Kevin Clash while he was underage has dropped the allegations. The accuser claims he WAS an adult during the relationship after all and has no further comment on the matter.

His lawyer released a statement to TMZ.com, saying, "[The accuser] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. [The accuser] will have no further comment." Why he suddenly changed his story after making such firm and serious allegations remains to be seen, though sources say the accuser's attorney had been meeting with Clash's lawyer late last night to discuss a financial settlement of around 6 figures. Initially, the alleged victim said he had a sexual relationship with Clash - who has voiced Elmo for 30 years - whilst he was 16-years-old. Kevin, who admitted that he was gay this week, was said to have been 45. Though the details of the relationship are still unknown, it is now clear that the accuser was deemed an adult and that it was completely consensual.

Clash, 52, also released a statement last night, saying, "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further."

Continue reading: Elmo's In The Clear! Kevin Clash's Gay Relationship Was Very Much Legal

Elmo’s Kevin Clash Admits Relationship With Boy, Insists It Was Legal


Kevin Clash Sesame Street

Elmo’s right-hand man Kevin Clash has admitted having a relationship with an unknown male man several years ago, though insists he did nothing illegal (despite accusations that the boy was just 16 at the time).

Clash, who’s performed as Elmo on Sesame Street for 27 years, has taken a leave of absence from the show to fight the allegations. On Monday (November 12, 2012), Clash confirmed to E! News that he did have a relationship with his accuser (now 23 years old) but says it was certainly not an illegal one.  “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was…I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.” Clash also confirmed he is “a gay man” and has “never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt [my relationship with the accuser] was a personal and private matter.”

The Sesame Workshop has backed up their star man, saying that after a thorough investigation they “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated,” though the family-oriented organization found that Clash “exercised poor judgement and violated company policy regarding Internet usage and was disciplined.” Err, ok.

Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused Of Relationship With Boy Aged 16


Elmo Sesame Street Kevin Clash

Kevin Clash, the voice (literally) behind Sesame Street's beloved character Elmo, has been accused of having a relationship with an under-age boy, reports TMZ. 

The 'boy' in question remains unnamed and is now 23, he alleges that Clash and he began a relationship when he was 16, when Clash would have been 45. The puppeteer fervently denies the allegations, saying that their relationship was mutual and didn't begin until the accuser was over the age of 18. He said: "I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."

Sesame Workshop, the television organisation behind Sesame Street, released a statement. "In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a young man who alleged that he had a relationship with Kevin Clash beginning when he was 16-years-old. This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action." They said, "Kevin insists that these allegations are false and defamatory and he has taken actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so." Sesame Workshop lawyers have met with the accuser twice already, on behalf of Clash, but feeling that they were trying to 'muzzle' him, said accuser, opted to employ top lawyers Andreozzi and Associates to represent him.

Continue reading: Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused Of Relationship With Boy Aged 16

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