Kevin Clash, the longtime voice of Elmo, has resigned from his longtime position at Sesame Street amid further allegations that he was engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor.
In a statement released Tuesday, Nov. 20, Sesame Workshop said, "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."
Clash's resignation comes just a week after the puppeteer, 52, was cleared of allegations from a 23-year-old man who said that the two had been in a sexual relationship when the accuser was 16. Clash denied any wrongdoing, telling TMZ that the coupling was consensual.
"I had a relationship with the accuser," he told the site. "It was between two consenting adults, and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."
The man in question recanted his claims on Nov. 13, but a second accuser reportedly came forward in the days after.