Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from Sesame Street today amid more accusations of sex with underage men.
Last week, aspiring model Sheldon Stephens accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him seven years ago, when he was 16 years old. He recanted his story, then claimed that in fact his tale was true, and that he was pressured into denying it in part by a $125,000 payment from Clash.
Today, another young man, Cecil Singleton, has filed a lawsuit against Clash stating that they had a sexual relationship when Singleton was just 15 years old. TMZ reports the suit claims:
“[Clash] trolled gay telephone chat line rooms to meet and have sex with underage boys… [he] groomed [accuser] to gain his trust by, among other things, taking him to nice dinners and giving him money.”
Singleton, who is now in his 30s, is asking for $5 million.
Why come forward now? TMZ explains:
Singleton claims … although the sex occurred nearly 20 years ago, he didn’t take action until now because … he “did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.”
Clash issued the following statement of resignation:
“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 Workshop responded:
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 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.
Now, do you think any of this is true, or are these guys just trying to make a buck?
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