New Allegations – Kevin Clash, Voice of Elmo Resigns
Elmo will remain on Seseme Street, but the voice of the lovable character, Kevin Clash, has resigned amid new allegations. A second accuser filed a lawsuit against Clash today. It was the final straw for Sesame Street. Clash, the longtime puppeteer for Elmo will no longer be a part of the heritage children's TV show.
He had previously claimed that the accusations made by 24 year old Sheldon Stephens were untrue. Stephens accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him when he was 16 years old. Clash admitted to the relationship, but denied that it had happened while Stephens was a minor.
Stephens was reportedly paid $125,000 to keep quiet about the relationship, but earlier this week had expressed regrets about signing the agreement, indicating that he would gladly give all of the money back to clear his name.
Sesame Street had this to say in a press release:
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.
So what is the fate of Elmo himself? He should be OK. Sesame Street says he will remain on the show, but the character will be voiced by a different person. A Sesame Workshop executive said last week that Mr. Clash has been helping to identify other puppeteers who could play Elmo for some time, and they have filled in for him while he was away from work.