The puppeteer behind the Elmo character, among other famous Muppets, has resigned from “Sesame Street” following accusations that he had “inappropriate relationships” with multiple under-aged teens. The Sesame Workshop has released a statement saying Clash denies the charges and has only resigned because the scandal is a distraction, following the second accusation.
“The controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants,” reads the statement from the Sesame Street Workshop. The acclaimed puppeteer had been a part of “Sesame Street” for 28 years, and the statement asserts that his leaving was to allow the Jim Henson children’s program continue to educate their young viewers.
Last week, a man accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him while he was a minor, though he recanted his lawsuit a day later. The Associated Press reports that attorney Cecil Singleton is claiming a second accuser filed a lawsuit against Clash on Tuesday.
Clash didn’t create the Elmo puppet, but he did invent the character’s voice and persona. The puppeteer’s own fame was propelled further in early 2011 by the documentary “Being Elmo,” which profiled his life.
The initial accusation made last week were made public on Monday, but recanted by a 24-year-old man who has remained anonymous. The New York Times reports that this incident caused Clash to out himself as a homosexual man.
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“I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it,” Clash said about his sexuality in a statement made last week, reports the Times. “[I] felt it was a personal and private matter,” Clash continued.
The Times claims that “Sesame Streets” production has gone, and will continue to go unaffected by Clash’s resignation. A Sesame Workshop executive claims Clash has been looking for a successor to portray the Elmo character to fill in for him when he departed from the show in the future.