Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind “Sesame Street’s” beloved Elmo, has resigned after he became embroiled in an underage sex scandal.
Clash announced he is permanently leaving the children’s show after a second man, Cecil Singleton, named him in a lawsuit, saying he was 15 when he met and had sex with the 32-year-old Clash in 1993. Singleton said he met Clash during a gay phone chat, according to TMZ.
This comes just one day after 23-year-old Sheldon Stephens, Clash’s first accuser, said he wanted to back out of a settlement that gave him $125,000 in return for saying his sexual relationship with the voice actor took place when they were both consenting adults. Stephens’ original claim that he was just 16 when he started having sex with Clash came to light last week.
Sesame Workshop issued a statement in the wake of these allegations:
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.
No word yet on who will replace Clash as the new voice of Elmo.