UPDATED: Sesame Street producer Sesame Workshop made it official on its blog this morning as a lawsuit was being filed in New York federal court charging Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash with sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Associated Press. The suit — which alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters — marks the second accuser to come forward and allege an underage relationship with the multiple Emmy winner, who has been on the PBS series since 1982. Earlier this month, an unidentified man said he had a sexual relationship with Clash beginning when the man was 16. Clash took a leave of absence after those allegations were made public, but his accuser the next day took back his story, claiming the relationship was adult and consensual, and Clash said he was “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest”. Here’s Sesame Workshop’s statement today announcing Clash’s departure:
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 wants, 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.