Elmo Puppeteer Resigns, Kevin Clash Addresses Sesame Street Departure

Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street, as we reported earlier, as a second accuser has stepped forward to claim an inappropriate relationship with Clash, filing a suit demanding $5 million from the man who voices Elmo.

Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash first became the subject of sex allegations last week when an aspiring male model stepped forward to say that he and Clash had been engaged in an inappropriate relationship that began when the young man, Sheldon Stephens, was 16.

Stephens later recanted his claims against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash but then went back on his recantation. Stephens told the media Clash had paid him a six-figure sum to keep quiet and soon said he planned to return the money so he could tell his story.

This morning, Sesame Workshop announced that Clash was leaving Sesame Street for good after nearly three decades in what they described as a “sad day for Sesame Street.” The news sent shockwaves across the blogosphere, particularly amid parents of small children who are devoted to Clash’s furry red monster and his world.

Now Clash has spoken as well, releasing a statement of his own about the painful decision to leave Sesame Street. In it, Clash says:

“I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with 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.”

The Elmo puppeteer’s resignation comes just as parents head into the pre-Christmas shopping season, and the Times notes the scandal could impact the brand’s sales.