Sesame Street‘s Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, has left the children’s program amid new allegations of having sex with a minor.
In a statement released Tuesday to The New York Times, Sesame Workshop said, “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.”
Clash took a leave of absence from the PBS series earlier in November to deal with claims that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy several years ago. Clash denied the allegations, and Sesame Workshop released a statement saying it “found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.” It added that an internal investigation found that Clash had used “poor judgment and violated company policy regarding Internet usage, and he was disciplined.”
That unnamed accuser later dropped his story, asserting that he and the puppeteer had a consensual, adult relationship.
Clash’s resignation comes on the same day as news of a second accuser, Cecil Singleton, who says he and Clash had a sexual relationship when he was 15 and Clash was 32. Singleton has filed a suit against Clash that reportedly asks for more than $5 million in damages.
The Times reports that Sesame Street was not affected by Clash’s leave of absence and likely won’t be affected by his resignation.