Henry Winkler: Elmo Creator Has Talent, Ignore Sex Abuse Allegations
Henry Winkler of "Happy Days" fame is considered one of the nicest people in Hollywood. You don't hear any horror stories about his on-set behavior, and he's managed to leave the iconic Fonzie character behind to play supporting roles in projects like "Arrested Development" and "Here Comes the Boom."
Winkler's reaction to puppeteer Kevin Clash resigning from "Sesame Street" amid allegations the puppeteer engaged in sexual acts with minors hardly seemed in character. In fact, Winkler's comment is downright ugly.
No one is disputing Clash's talents. Just watch last year's documentary "Being Elmo" to marvel at his many gifts. But this is hardly the "end of story."
Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" this month after two people alleged the puppeteer had engaged in sexual behavior with them while they were minors.
We don't know the whole truth just yet. Clash may be innocent, or more people may step forward with equally damning stories. The accusations deserve a full hearing. Why Winkler would declare the story over is a dereliction of moral decency.
His comment is reminiscent how celebrities rallied around Roman Polanski in the wake of the director's sexual abuse scandal. Polanski admitted to having sex with a minor, but because he is considered a genius in artistic circles many peers gave him a pass for his ghastly behavior.