In the wake of another accusation of sexual misconduct with an underage teen, the puppeteer who has voiced the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo for more than two decades has officially resigned from his role.
The media firestorm began two weeks ago when a man accused 52-year-old Kevin Clash of having a sexual relationship with him when he was underage. At the time, Clash, who is gay, admitted to having a relationship with the accuser, Stephen Sheldon, but said it was a consensual relationship between two adults.
Last week, Sheldon recanted his accusation, saying via a statement through his attorney that he wanted it to be known that “his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult, consensual relationship."
Over the weekend, however, TMZ reported that Sheldon received a $125,000 settlement in exchange for dropping his charges. And now another man, Cecil Singleton, has filed a lawsuit accusing Clash of striking up a relationship with him when he was just 15.
There are conflicting reports as to how old Singleton is currently and when he met Clash, but TMZ, which broke the story of the second lawsuit, is reporting that the two met through a gay chatline. The suit is seeking $5 million in damages, and according to the complaint filed in a New York court, accused Clash of “preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests.”
"I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization," Clash said in a statement on Tuesday. "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
Sesame Street issued its own statement the same day, part of which included, “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ‘Sesame Street.’ This is a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’"
Clash was the recipient of multiple Daytime Emmys over his career and was the subject of a 2011 documentary titled “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”
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