Home News Afro Briefs Originally published November 20, 2012

Elmo Puppeteer Resigns Amid Abuse Allegations

by Alexis Taylor
AFRO Staff Writer

  •   Click on the photo to view additional Photos.
    In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash poses with the "Sesame Street" muppet in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Sesame Workshop says Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from "Sesame Street" in the wake of allegations that he had sex with an under-aged youth. Last week a man accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy, a charge Clash denied. A day later, the man recanted his charge. A lawsuit by a second accuser was filed Tuesday, Nov. 20, according to attorney Cecil Singleton. Photo Credit/Victoria Will, File (AP Photo)

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Kevin Clash, the voice behind Elmo, Clifford, and Hoots the Owl has resigned from his post as Sesame Street Muppet Captain and co-executive producer.

The step down comes amid a widening sexual abuse scandal that has taken over headlines since the first accusation was made by a 23-year-old man, still anonymous, last week.

The Sesame Workshop released a statement Tuesday saying that after 28 years on the show, Clash’s leave of absence, taken Nov. 12 as a result of the allegations, has officially become permanent.

The resignation came on the same day that Cecil Singleton filed a $5 million lawsuit against Clash. Singleton alleges that he met Clash in 1993, then 32, while inside a gay chat room at the age of 15.

“Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street,” said the company.

Sesame Workshop disclosed that they have known about the situation since June 2012 when allegations were made known to them about an old relationship between Clash and a 16-year-old, now 23.

At that time, the company says they “conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated” after two meetings with the accuser.

“I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter,” said Clash, 52, in a statement via his personal representative to Reuters.

“I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.”

The master puppeteer and Baltimore native has enjoyed international success for his work on the children’s program that began in 1969. 

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