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In an announcement made by Sesame Workshop Tuesday, Sesame Street puppeteer and voice of the ever popular character Elmo, Kevin Clash, has resigned. Clash has been accused of having sexual relations with a male who was underage.
The Sesame Workshop home to Sesame Street, reportedly called the scandal with Clash a “distraction”.
A statement from Sesame Workshop was released in regards to the allegations Clash faces:
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. 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.”
A 24-year-old man publicly accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him while he was a teenager last week. That same accuser then recanted his statement one day later.
On Tuesday, a second lawsuit was reportedly filed by another individual claiming that Clash had a sexual relationship with him. The latest lawsuit alleges that a man, then 15 and now an adult, suffered “adverse psychological and emotional effects,” from Clash. The lawsuit further states that he was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters. The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages.
Clash, who joined the cast of Sesame Street in 1984 invented the widely popular character Elmo. He also received national attention as well as accolades for his work.
In the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” Clash’s life is chronicled as a puppeteer. With Clash having stepped down from his position as puppeteer at Sesame Street, Elmo will be played by understudies who were trained by Clash. He also served as the voice for other characters on the show.