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Voice of “Elmo” Resigns Amid Sex Scandal

Big Bird was unavail­able for com­ment.

Kevin Clash has resigned as Elmo’s pup­peteer, lit­tle more than a week fol­low­ing news of a sex scan­dal involv­ing the long­time Sesame Street staple.

Clash, 52, had been accused by a Penn­syl­va­nia man of hav­ing a sex­ual rela­tion­ship when the man was 16. Later last week, he recanted, claim­ing he was an adult at the time, and Sesame made plans for Clash to return to work.

But a law­suit was filed Tues­day in fed­eral court in New York charg­ing Clash with sex­ual abuse of a sec­ond youth. The law­suit alleges that Cecil Sin­gle­ton, then 15 and now an adult clam­ing “adverse psy­cho­log­i­cal and emo­tional effects,” was per­suaded by Clash to meet for sex­ual encoun­ters. The law­suit seeks more than $5 mil­lion in damages.

Sesame did not address the lat­est alle­ga­tions in its statement.

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. “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.”

In a state­ment, Clash said he had “a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years work­ing for this excep­tional orga­ni­za­tion. 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.”

Elmo will live on.  After all, Elmo is another Sesame Street Cash Cow — like Big Bird — and will mer­rily go on his way to the bank.

The real ques­tions going for­ward are does this start effect­ing the Sesame Street or Elmo brands (I doubt it, Clash has left before any real dam­age could be done long-term) and does any of this start lead­ing to crim­i­nal charges against Clash him­self.  Time will tell on that last one.

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  • steveegg

    Cue the “Tickle” dou­ble entendres.