Amid allegations that he had a sexual relationship with an underage boy, the puppeteer behind Elmo is leaving “Sesame Street.” As previously reported, an aspiring model named Sheldon Stephens came forward claiming that Kevin Clash, the voice behind “Sesame Street’s” Elmo, had a sexual relationship with him when he was underage. He has since recanted his story but there are allegations that he was paid to do so. A second man has since come forward with similar claims stating that Clash coerced him into sex when he was just 15. Now according to several sources, Clash has ended his stint on Sesame Street and decided to resign.
Sesame Workshop, the company behind the popular children’s program, has released a statement confirming Clash’s resignation. “Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential,” the statement reads. “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.”
The program will continue with one of the puppeteers Clash suggested to replace him. –danielle canada