This plush toy was based on the Muppet character Elmo from the children’s show Sesame Street.
He was harmless and fun to tickle.
He encouraged inappropriate behavior.
Elmo is the hottest selling merchandise in the Sesame Street franchise.
The red Muppet was mostly puppeteered by Kevin Clash, who resigned from the job in 2012. At that time, he faced allegations of sexual abuse, which were not proven. Of course, none of this has to reflect poorly on the character of Elmo itself.
Elmo may also be considered controversial for his involvement in politics. Elmo, along with fellow Muppet character Rosita, appeared in a PSA alongside Hillary Clinton in 2004. Moreover, Elmo testified in Congress at the invitation of Rep. Duke Cunningham in April 2002 asking for more funding for music education.