The puppeteer and voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street,” Kevin Clash, has resigned from the show amid a new allegation he had underage sexual relationships, reports The New York Times’ Media Decoder.
Clash said he was resigning with a "very heavy heart," adding: “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer."
His statement was issued at about the same time a lawsuit was filed alleging he had "sexual activity" with a 15-year-old, the story says. The accuser, Cecil Singleton, is now 24 and is seeking $5 million in damages. Clash didn’t have a comment on the lawsuit.
The latest allegation comes after he was accused last week of an underage relationship with a man who later recanted his story.
How the claims impact "Sesame Street" remains to be seen, the story notes. Hasbro, the chief toy licensee for "Sesame Street" products, said it is "confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ and that ‘Sesame Street’ toys will continue to delight children for years to come.”
Sesame Workshop, which produces "Sesame Street," declined interview requests, but said in a statement that it was "a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’”