Last Monday, it was reported that longtime Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash would take a leave of absence after being accused of having a sexual relationship with an underaged partner. Then only a day later, the accuser recanted his allegations. But it appears Kevin Clash will not be going back to work. Sesame Workshop released this statement today to the New York Times:
“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.”
The resignation arrives on the same day as reports from a second accuser. TMZ writes that the now-in-his-30s Cecil Singleton is claiming he had a sexual relationship with Clash when he was 15. Before all this, Clash had been working to find other puppeteers to play Elmo in his absence, so it appears this news will have no affect on Sesame Street itself.