|Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey is a documentary about |
puppeteer Kevin Clash, based on his autobiography
My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has
Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud
Muhammad Rasheed - I watched this documentary just a few months before COVID-19 shut the country down and really loved it. I had heard some little bit about abuse allegations against Clash beforehand and was braced against it popping up—expecting to (uncomfortably) find out what it was all about during the doc—but to my surprise, the film never brought it up (I ended up watching it again later so I could enjoy it without the self-imposed tension). I looked it up and saw that the Being Elmo doc was released in the fall of 2011 and the dude made his claims a year later.
This was interesting to me in light of one of my big takeaways from the movie: At the time Being Elmo was being filmed, Kevin Clash was the most powerful man in the Sesame Workshop, using his super-talent and over-worked perfectionist drive to become "essential" (as Cheryl Henson, president of The Jim Henson Foundation described him) in the company's expansion. It was obvious to me, as the documentary ended, that the company owed Clash a great deal and he held quite a bit of leverage. After the allegations, his leverage vanished and he left the company disgraced with practically nothing just a year after being on top of the world in his humble, genuinely nice way.
It's impossible for me to think those allegations were anything but a calculated corporate attack against a talented Black American (ADOS) man, who was exploited of his talents, skills and experience and then thrown out on his face.