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Last week, Kevin Clash took a hiatus from Sesame Street to deal with an allegation he illegally had sex with a sixteen-year-old boy some years ago. A settlement was eventually brokered, paving the way for the Elmo puppeteer to return to work. Unfortunately, Clash was hit with a fresh allegation by a different accuser yesterday, and rather than turn Sesame Street into a mess of controversy, he’s officially decided to resign from the show effective immediately.
You can read the actor’s official statement in its entirety below, as per The New York Times…
“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.”
Sesame Street has remained in production the past few days with substitutes handling Clash’s vocal duties as Elmo. The beloved character will continue to be on the show moving forward, and the shooting schedule is not expected to be altered in any way by the upsetting allegations or the resignation. No decision has been made as to when a permanent successor for Clash will be announced, but there are reportedly several candidates capable of handling the voice.
Over the past week, it’s been tempting for many to make Elmo pedophile jokes or to reference President Obama’s vocal support for PBS. The fact is Sesame Street has been providing wonderful children’s entertainment for more than four decades. Neither the show nor the character is responsible for what Clash may or may not have done, and if we tear down Sesame Street in anger, if we stop buying Elmo toys and turn on his friends too, we will be doing future generations of children a great disservice.
TV Blend’s thoughts go out to everyone unjustly affected by this entire situation.