Sesame Workshop announced on Tuesday that Kevin Clash, the long-time puppeteer of Elmo, has resigned. In its statement Tuesday, Sesame Workshop said "the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us want," leading Clash to conclude "that he can no longer be effective in his job."
As the announcement was made, AP's Frazier Moore reported “a lawsuit was being filed in federal court in New York charging Clash with sexual abuse of a second youth. The lawsuit alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $5 million.”
In a statement of his own, Clash said "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 Workshop called it a "sad day for Sesame Street," but clearly, they didn't want their lucrative "nonprofit" brand to suffer ongoing negative publicity by association with Clash's legal battles.
"Sesame Workshop's mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential," its statement proclaimed. "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."