A widening sex scandal has pushed Kevin
Clash to resign as the puppeteer and voice of Sesame Street's
The 52-year-old Clash has been the
voice of an animated Elmo since 1984.
Last week, celebrity website TMZ.com
reported claims by Sheldon Stephens that he and Clash had a sexual
relationship when Stephens, now 24, was 16 years old. The following
day, Stephens recanted his story.
But on Tuesday, TMZ.com
reported that a second man has stepped forward to claim Clash
initiated a relationship with him when he was 15. The man is suing
Clash for $5 million.
“Sesame Workshop's mission is to
harness the educational power of media to help all children the world
over reach their highest potential,” the company said in a
statement. “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
Elmo will be played by understudies
trained by Clash.