Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, is resigning from "Sesame Street."
Clash was recently accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with Sheldon Stephens, who claimed the relationship started when he was 16. The 23-year-old Stephens, who calls Harrisburg home, recently recanted his accusation after signing a $125,000 settlement. But as we reported in Tattle today, Stephens wants to recant his recantation and is looking for new lawyers to undo the settlement.
According to the Associated Press, a lawsuit by a second accuser was filed Tuesday. TMZ reportedly found the second accuser, who says Clash trolled gay sex phone lines looking for sex with underage boys. The accuser, now in his 20s, says he started a relationship with the then 32-year-old Clash when he was 15.
The Sesame Workshop, the producers behind "Sesame Street," released this statement:
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.
Kevin Clash has been a puppeteer at "Sesame Street" since 1984 and was recently profiled in the documentary "Being Elmo." Elmo will not go out with Clash though. Clash took a leave of absence when Stephens' accusations were made public and began identifying other puppeteers who could take on the Elmo mantel.