Sesame Street Puppeteer Kevin Clash Resigns

Sesame Street‘s Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, has left the children’s program amid new allegations of having sex with a minor.

In a statement released Tuesday to The New York Times, Sesame Workshop said, “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.”

Clash took a leave of absence from the PBS series earlier in November to deal with claims that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy several years ago. Clash denied the allegations, and Sesame Workshop released a statement saying it “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.” It added that an internal investigation found that Clash had used “poor judgment and violated company policy regarding Internet usage, and he was disciplined.”

That unnamed accuser later dropped his story, asserting that he and the puppeteer had a consensual, adult relationship.

Clash’s resignation comes on the same day as news of a second accuser, Cecil Singleton, who says he and Clash had a sexual relationship when he was 15 and Clash was 32. Singleton has filed a suit against Clash that reportedly asks for more than $5 million in damages.

The Times reports that Sesame Street was not affected by Clash’s leave of absence and likely won’t be affected by his resignation.

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22 Comments
  1. Ari says:

    Wow, he’s such a huge part of Sesame Street, not just as Elmo but behind the scenes. This is s huge blow to their team.

  2. Well, Elmo always scared the crap out of me…
    But in all seriousness, this kind of sucks but it seems like he left on his own terms.

  3. Carrie says:

    Sad, but not surprising. It’s really hard to overcome those kinds of allegations, even more so when your work is so youth-centric.

  4. Daisy says:

    It’s so sad that such a magnificent career of giving and teaching had to end this way. I feel so bad for him.

    • Pattie says:

      Me too. :( And I’m heartbroken on my daughter’s behalf. She’s 2 and adores Elmo. At least she’s too young to hear and/or be affected by this news. I expect she won’t notice the change in Elmo’s voice, either.

  5. Luke Nutley says:

    Hollywood is run by pedos. Just ask Corey Feldman. Bizarre though that Sesame Street is saying that pedo Clash taking a leave of absence made no difference as won’t his resignation. Clearly Sesame Street is distancing themselves from him by diminishing his contribution to the program. Not that I’m surprised. Now where are all the holier than thou types who were attacking the first victim for daring to speak ill of their abuser now that there’s another victim? Hmm?

    • schnappi says:

      Just for the record, having sex with a 15 year old (I’m not saying that Clash did) doesn’t make someone a pedophile, I wish people would stop saying that. Pedophiles are sexually attracted to prepubescnet children. 15 year old guys would be too old for a pedophile. Words have meanings and pedophile does not mean “having sex with a minor”.

      • Luke Nutley says:

        In the real world, a 32 year old who banged a 15 year old would go to prison. In Hollywood, they resign and play the victim.

        • erik says:

          they’d go to prison but they wouldn’t be labeled a pedophile… as schnappi said pedophiles are people attracted to pre-pubescent children (ie under the age of 12).

          • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

            True. A more fitting description is statutory rapist and he should go to prison if it is true. I imagine it has been too long to file charges though an these kids will get a payoff.

  6. rachelle says:

    Wow. It’s crazy how you can literally ruin someone’s life by just accusing him of sexual misconduct. Seriously. If anyone pisses you off, all you have to do is accuse him of some inappropriate sexual behavior and just saying those words is enough to brand that person with a stigma that won’t ever go away. If this isn’t true, I hope his accuser can live with himself knowing what he’s done.

    • L says:

      I am so sick of people like you allowing child molesters to get off scott-free just because they are in the public eye. If you had bothered to actually look at other news reports you would know that the number of accusers is up to 4. Still think everyone’s out to hurt Clash?

      • jalahyacinth says:

        Possibly. It could be people jumping on the bandwagon hoping for a payday and a moment of stardom. Or they’re legitimate victims. It’s not for us to know or decide

    • jalahyacinth says:

      Thank you. Just what I was thinking. If he did it, I hope he gets jail time. If this is a case of a bitter ex who wants a pay day, I hope the accuser doesn’t get a cent and apologizes.

  7. Sara says:

    Is Elmo done or will someone else do the voice? I can’t imagine anyone other than Clash, but Sesame Street had successful changes with some of the other characters.

  8. Fairy says:

    I’m devastated. I refused to believe it with the first one, and when he recanted, I was not surprised. But now there’s a pattern, and he’s innocent until proven guilty. But I’m devastated anyway. Overall, it’s a blow. The legacy that is Elmo is far bigger than anyone knows. No one doesn’t know who Elmo is, and he — and Kevin’s creation and portrayal of him — is so interwoven into the fabric of American society and culture that there is no way to take him back. To undo him. This is enormous. Not since the death of Jim Henson has there been a bigger emotional and financial blow to Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop. This rocks their very foundation, and I really believe the legacy of Sesame Street is threatened with this.

  9. The new accuser is full of crap too. Maybe something went down, maybe something didn’t. But the fact that he wants millions of dollars instead of Clash in jail speaks volumes.

  10. Its a shame this ‘unsavory’ story is being connected with Sesame Street. Lets hope it doesn’t detract from the good work the show does.

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