Kevin Clash, the longtime voice and puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Elmo character, has resigned amidst new allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.
His resignation comes a week after a first round of allegations, later recanted, that he had had an underage sexual relationship.
Sesame Workshop had defended the beloved puppeteer, claiming that the allegations were unfounded.
However TMZ is reporting that Clash is facing new allegations that he engaged in a sexual relationship with yet another underage boy.
The second accuser, who now in his 30s, claims in a lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York City, that he met Clash on a gay phone chat line back in 1993 when the accuser was 15 years old and Clash was 32.
The new accuser, Cecil Singleton, claims in the lawsuit that "[Clash] trolled gay telephone chat line rooms to meet and have sex with underage boys."
In a statement posted online Tuesday, Sesame Workshop said:
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.
Clash had taken a leave of absence from the show, which continued on its regular production schedule. Other puppeteers have been filling in for Clash while he was away from work, a Sesame Workshop executive told the New York Times.