Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigns amidst sex scandal claims
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street character Elmo, has announced his resignation from the show amidst a double sex scandal.
One of Clash's former lovers, Sheldon Stephens, claimed that the puppeteer had sexual relations with him when he was just 16 and alleged that Clash paid him $125,000 to recant the claim, pressuring him to accept the money.
Another man, Cecil Singleton, filed a lawsuit against Clash, claiming that they met on a gay phone line in the 1990s when Singleton was 15 years old.
Clash had taken a leave of absence from the show following both scandals breaking, and has announced that he will officially resign his role as Elmo after 28 years.
He told the Hollywood Reporter, "I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart.
"I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organisation. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
Sesame Workshop bosses stated, "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."
Photo: Getty/Getty Images Entertainment/Frederick M. Brown