Because sometimes, but not too often or else it’ll get ideas, the Internet does more than just fill our eyes with delicious porn and babies dressed like Iron Man (No one suggest combining those two. I know you’re thinking about it.), The Smoking Gun has discovered the identity of Kevin Clash‘s accuser: 24-year-old Sheldon Stephens, a.k.a. “Sheldon Xzavier,” of Harrisburg, Pa. who, surprise, has a criminal record of floating bad checks and robbing people of jewelry at knifepoint. TSG also shits on TMZ’s coverage particularly that Sheldon received a settlement because by the time his statement recanting the allegations was released, he’d already been dropped by his lawyers presumably for making the whole thing up:
Shortly after the statement’s release, TMZ scrambled to publish a story (citing “sources close to the situation”) claiming that attorneys for Clash and the accuser were, right then, purportedly “discussing a financial settlement and 6-figures were on the table.” At that point, however, Stephens was no longer being represented by Andreozzi & Associates, the Harrisburg law firm, and had no other legal representation. The issuance of the statement was done as a courtesy by Stephens’s former counsel, who noted that, “He will have no further comment on the matter.”
The acknowledgement that the damaging claim against Clash was not true came as a relief to the producers of “Sesame Street,” who, as The New York Times notes, “had been alarmed by seeing the words ‘under-age sex’ in the same sentence as ‘Elmo.’”
The recanting, however, came after TMZ had effectively outed Clash as a gay man. In a statement, the puppeteer noted, “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.” It is unknown if TMZ, one of the country’s leading practitioners of checkbook journalism, paid Stephens for his story.
Of course, the real winners in this debacle are right-wing bigots who now have TWO gay minorities to hate. One openly without fear of consequence because, seriously, fuck this guy. And another a little less openly as they try to cost him his job for doing absolutely nothing wrong. It’s a beautiful morning for hate in America. Breathe it in.