Is Elmo Gay?!?!

The guy who brings Elmo to life is taking a leave of absence from "Sesame Street" to fight what he calls a "false and defamatory allegation." He's being accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Kevin Clash says while he did have a relationship with his accuser, "it was between two consenting adults." He says he's "deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was."

Sesame Workshop says its investigation found no evidence of an underage relationship, but it says Clash exercised "poor judgement." It says Clash has been "disciplined for violating company policy" on using the Internet.

Though Elmo has existed since 1979, Clash – who was the third person to take a crack at voicing the puppet – is widely credited with making the character as popular as he is today.

Sesame Workshop tried to reassure fans that the shocking news didn’t mean the end of Elmo, telling viewers, “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.”