In wake of the recent sex allegations, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from his position with Sesame Street after 28 years.
Sesame Workshop released the following statement on Tuesday:
“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.”
Earlier this morning, a second accuser stepped forward with claims of an underage sexual relationship with the 54-year-old actor. Cecil Singleton, now in his 30s, has filed a lawsuit against Clash that claims the pair met on a gay phone chat line back in 1993.
TMZ reports Singleton was 15 years old and Clash was 32.
“[Clash] trolled gay telephone chat line rooms to meet and have sex with underage boys,” the accuser claims. Singleton says Clash “groomed” him to gain his trust by taking him to dinners and giving him money.
The report continues:
“Singleton claims while Clash was featured on ‘Sesame Street,’ he was ‘preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests.’
In the suit, Singleton claims … although the sex occurred nearly 20 years ago, he didn’t take action until now because … he ‘did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.'”
Singleton is demanding more than $5 million.
Clash’s first accuser, Sheldon Stephens, is seeking to reverse his $125,000 settlement after recanting his statement last week. The 23-year-old aspiring model says he is standing by his initial claim of an underage sexual relationship with Clash.