Tue., November 20, 2012 11:45am (EST)

Elmo Puppeteer Resigns; Calls Sex Allegations A 'Distraction'
By Mark Memmott
Updated: 2 years ago

Puppeteer Kevin Clash and Elmo.
Puppeteer Kevin Clash and Elmo.
Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer who for 28 years has made Sesame Street's Elmo come alive for kids, has resigned because "the controversy surrounding [his] personal life has become a distraction," Sesame Workshop said this morning.

Last week, Clash went on leave after a now-adult man alleged that they had a sexual relationship when the accuser was still a minor. Clash denied they had a relationship when the other man was underage. The accuser later recanted, then reversed himself and said he had been pressured to drop the accusation.

Today, a second accuser filed a suit alleging that he also had a sexual relationship with Clash when he (the accuser) was a minor, his attorney tells The Associated Press. TMZ.com broke the news of the second accusation.

Sesame Workshop's complete statement:

"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."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.